FOR nearly 15 years she has been a friendly face behind the counter in Barnardo’s charity shop.
This week, Kathy Chaulke hung up her pricing gun for the last time as she stepped down to enjoy her retirement.
Kathy, now in her 80s, started work at Barnardo’s on the High Street, Lee-on-the-Solent, in 1998.
As she is so close to making it to her 15th year as a volunteer, which is commemorated by Barnardo’s with a special flute, the charity decided to honour Kathy anyway.
Kathy, who lives in Hill Head with her daughter, said: ‘It’s been absolutely brilliant.’
Kathy said that people should definitely think about volunteering as it is such a rewarding way to spend free time.
She said: ‘I’m always asking people “are you doing anything?” and then “would you like to become a volunteer?”’
Kathy said the shop is more than just a charity shop and that she will miss speaking to all the customers who pop in for a natter.
She said: ‘When they come in, we say a friendly hello. They come in and we have a chat. I like to be in with people.’
She also said she would miss the cakes that manageress Suzanne Nunn brings in as a treat. However, Kathy is now looking forward to tackling her photo collection which has built up over the years, and putting them into albums.
Manager Suzanne, from Gosport, said: ‘It has been a long time. Volunteers are a huge part of our business and volunteers like Kathy make it seem like a family.’
Nicola Helme, Barnardo’s retail volunteering manager, said: ‘Kathy has made a huge contribution to Barnardo’s and we would very much like to thank her for all her hard work and dedication to the team over the years.’
‘As a charity, we very much rely on the goodwill and generosity of our volunteers and their help is vital in running the shop so that we can help raise money to work with thousands of children every year.’
Kathy said: ‘I will still be popping in to say hello, I’ll get dial-a-ride to bring me here!’
To volunteer with Barnardo’s, visit barnardos.org.uk/get_involved or call Nicola Helme on 020 8498 7320.