A CHARITY shop has opened with the specific aim of helping all registered armed forces charities.
The store, called The Armed Forces Shop opened on Stoke Road, Gosport.
An opening ceremony was held and members from the Royal British Legion Riders Branch came along in support.
The shop has been set up by Heidi Hanson and Sharon Larcombe, who have both given up their full-time jobs to work in the shop.
Mrs Hanson, from Gosport, said: ‘There’s a lot of charity shops but we wanted to be a bit different. There are such strong ties to the navy around here, lots of people are either serving or have served, that we thought it was important to support the armed forces.’
The women, both in their 40s, are supported by their husbands Colin Hanson and Clive Larcombe.
The couples have strong military connections with Colin being ex-navy and Clive being ex-army.
Heidi was also a Royal Naval Wren before becoming a nursery nurse at HMS Sultan and Sharon used to manage a charity shop in Alton before working for a mental health charity.
Mr Hanson added: ‘We are going to be open six days a week fundraising for all kinds of armed forces charities.’
Heidi and Clive’s children Will, 13, and brother Cameron, seven, said they have every intention of helping their parents by volunteering.
Will, a Year 8 pupil at Brune Park, said: ‘It’s going to be great, we are lucky that we have got all the stuff we have.’
Another volunteer, 74-year-old veteran David Searle, from Alverstoke, said he signed up to help out as soon as he saw the shop’s aim.
Mr Searle said: ‘It is brilliant that they are not tied. There are quite a few charities out there and this will support all of them.’
Councillor Derek Kimber, vice-chairman of the community board at Gosport Borough Council and Royal Navy veteran, declared the shop officially open.
Cllr Kimber said: ‘It is brilliant. I know how much work has gone on behind the scenes to get to where they are today. I was absolutely delighted to open it, you have got to reward effort.’