Fate played a huge role in opening new children’s charity shop Cherry Blossoms in Bramford Lane, Ipswich
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A new children’s charity shop which supports women who have suffered pregnancy traumas has opened in Ipswich – after receiving huge help from fate’s guiding hand.
Cherry Blossoms, based in Bramford Lane opposite Springfield Junior School, sells children’s clothing, toys, books and maternity wear.
The shop was named after community stalwart Cherry Woodward.
“Mum had a really big heart and would be really pleased that we are getting her dream off the ground finally,” said daughter, Sophie Woodward, of Mornington Avenue.
The shop supports Ipswich charity Perspectives, a support and listening service for anyone who has experienced pregnancy difficulties, such as miscarriages, stillbirths, failed IVF or terminations.
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Cherry carried out work on behalf of Perspectives, a Christian initiative which launched in 1998, and other charities in the town.
She passed away at around the time the charity began looking into opening their first shop from a heart disease at the age of 59 in July 2014.
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Miss Woodward, who has given up her pre-school assistant job to volunteer at the shop, said: “It is a whole new experience for me and I am really enjoying it. We are making a great connection with the community and we are having supportive, natural conversations with people who have had pregnancy issues.”
Miss Woodward, 40, was approached with the idea of helping launch the shop by Nancy Sloan-Capasso, the centre co-ordinator for Perspectives.
Mrs Sloan-Capasso explained: “We have prayers every Friday to seek god’s will. Cherry was our prayer lead and together as a team we had a vision of reaching out into the community in terms of a shop.
“At the time of Cherry’s death, we had just found a shop. I was sitting at my computer trying to think of a name – Humpty Dumpty, Three Blind Mice; nursery rhymes. But it didn’t feel right.
“We had recently talked about the planting of trees. Suddenly I thought, Cherry Blossoms. Cherry had been there at the conception and the idea has blossomed. Cherry Blossoms! It was the fruit of her ideas.
“Everybody later said yes, that’s the name we should have.”
Two mysterious episodes then further cemented the suggestion.
“We had a prayer meeting at a friend’s house one evening,” Mrs Sloan-Capasso said.
“One of my friends came up to me and said ‘every time I close my eyes I see a cherry tree and blossoms falling’. I was speechless. I had not told anything about the shop name to this particular prayer group. I couldn’t speak for ages. I was so struck.
“Then, a few days after our pilot launch (on Saturday, July 29), a friend came in and said ‘Cherry Blossoms – what a brilliant idea Nancy. That is really good marketing’.
“Apparently, there is a cherry tree on the corner where the post office is (in Bramford Lane). We didn’t even know it was there! It is just things like that which makes it all fall into place. It is very exciting.
“I think Cherry is looking down from heaven and is beaming from ear to ear. Anyone who knew Cherry knew her fantastic smile.
“We are doing what she had prayed for – reaching out into the community. The dream is to open more shops in the future, but we are taking one step at a time.”
The shop is open from 10am to 3pm every day of the week except Wednesdays and Sundays. There are five members of staff.
Miss Woodward added: “The shop was such a beautiful idea and it is so lovely for the community. We are making more plans and starting to move forward.”
To find out more about Perspectives, visit www.perspectivesipswich.co.uk.