Charity work is a family affair

A FELIXSTOWE family has proved it has the Red Cross at its very heart - with four generations being involved in the running of one of its charity shops.

Richard Cornwell

A FELIXSTOWE family has proved it has the Red Cross at its very heart - with four generations being involved in the running of one of its charity shops.

John Ward and his wife Araby were the first managers of the organisation's Felixstowe shop when it opened back in 1991 - and he was asked to cut the ribbon to mark the store's re-opening at the weekend after its recent refurbishment.

Accompanying Mr Ward was his daughter Allison Diaper who is now the manager, and her daughter Hannah, the assistant manager.

The youngest member to get involved is Hannah's daughter Chloe, six, who loves to help her mum and gran out at the shop.

Mr Ward said: “It's a bit of family concern - and probably quite unusual to have four generations involved like this.

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“It is a great place to work and we are all firm supporters of the Red Cross.”

Mrs Diaper, who has been manager for just over 12 years, said: “My dad was the first volunteer manager and started the shop when it was over the road, moving it to the current premises in 1994.

“I then took over in 1996 as paid manager and later Hannah started as a volunteer and then took on the job as assistant manager two years ago.

“We have a great team working at the shop and we all really enjoy it - we have a giggle.”

The shop was closed for three weeks after health and safety inspectors decided a number of improvements were needed to bring the building up to standard.

The work included removing asbestos from the boiler room, changes to fire and emergency doors and electric light fittings, new smoke alarms, and a new ceiling in the cellar.

Red Cross officials decided that while this work was going on general refurbishment should be done at the same time.

To mark the re-opening staff dressed up in Victorian costume as part of the celebrations for the centenary of the Red Cross' Royal Charter, granted by King Edward VII on September 3, 1908.

Does your charity shop have something to shout about? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Red Cross

The British Red Cross was founded in 1870 and is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the world's largest independent humanitarian organisation.

Its work in the UK focuses on four areas - emergency response, first aid training, health and social care, and helping refugees and other vulnerable migrants arriving.

Overseas, Red Cross workers will assist communities affected by conflicts and disasters, work in vulnerable countries to help them prepare for emergencies, carry out HIV, tuberculosis, and water and sanitation projects, and promotes international humanitarian law.