Twenty-one years on, volunteer and shop going strong

BIRTHDAY Barbara Perry, right, with manager Rosemary Acton. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131154-2)
BIRTHDAY Barbara Perry, right, with manager Rosemary Acton. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131154-2)
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Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

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THE British Heart Foundation store in Fareham is marking its 21st birthday – and one of the original volunteers is still there to help them celebrate at the age of 88.

Barbara Perry, from Waltham Chase, has been with the shop in the town’s West Street since it opened on April 27, 1992.

And about 40 volunteers, past and present packed into the shop to mark Barbara’s landmark with a surprise party in her honour.

Barbara, a great-grandmother of eight, said: ‘We always have a little bit of something to mark the shop’s birthday, but I had no idea they were preparing anything for me. I was quite embarrassed and it was a real shock, I had no idea anything like this was going to happen.

‘It was through my daughter that I first got involved. She was the one who spotted the shop was opening.

‘I came down into the town centre and talked to them, and I started on that Monday.

‘I keep doing it; first and foremost because I enjoy it so much.

‘My husband Ronald had and beat cancer, but then he died of a heart attack. I was already volunteering here by then, but I have also had a pacemaker fitted. It’s these things that bring it home to you. I’m proud to be part of it and long may it continue.’

Shop manager Rosemary Acton said: ‘She’s a lovely lady and very proactive.

‘A lot of people could learn a thing or two from her – at every opportunity she will be trying to create more stock or selling someone a badge.

‘She’s hands on, she’s done all the jobs.’

Barbara was presented with a basket of toiletries by area manager Preston Davies, there was a buffet and a cake for the guest of honour.

Staff from Specsavers’ regional offices at Whiteley also gave the store a birthday present of a cheque for £1,500 from their fundraising efforts.

Rosemary added: ‘Specsavers have been fantastic – they’ve been very supportive of us.’