A VOLUNTEER who helped open a charity shop 30 years ago in Whitehaven has helped reopen it following a refit.

Phil Holland cut the ribbon to open The Children Society charity shop on Lowther Street, which had been closed for three weeks for refurbishment.

Phil was one of a team of volunteers who set the shop up in 1978, he said: “I started volunteering with The Children Society before they even had the shop. I did box collecting and sold Christmas cards. Then when they got the shop, they needed lots of help to get it started.

“The committee from St John’s Church in Hensingham were amazing and we all worked together, we organised events including a big summer fair and it did not take long for us to have enough volunteers to keep the shop running.”

The 92-year old still works twice a week at the shop and regularly cycles in from his home in Bigrigg. Over the past 30 years he has seen many changes but his dedication to the charity remains unchanged and he said he felt honoured to be asked to cut the ribbon.

He said: “I was really touched when they asked me, and excited at the prospect. I was looking forward to seeing how the shop had been improved. When I walked in I was so pleased, I think it looks great and cannot wait to get back to work and earning more money for such a worthwhile cause.”

Shop manager Joe Murray said: “In Whitehaven we have a team of 21 volunteers and they all know and respect Phil, so it was an obvious decision to ask him to open our revamped shop.

“The improvements have given us a modern and contemporary shop floor with brighter lighting and more areas to display our donated stock. The shop has always been so well supported by the local community with donations and volunteers which we are very grateful for and they have enabled us to support the charity’s mission even further.”

The Children’s Society has 105 shops around Britain. Last year they raised over £9.8 million to help transform the lives of vulnerable children and young people, by supporting those with mental health issues, at risk of sexual and criminal exploitation, living in poverty or in care and more.

To find out more about volunteering with The Children’s Society, visit https://careers.childrenssociety.org.uk/volunteering