Asking for unwanted furniture to be collected might not sound like the most obvious way to raise funds for charity.
But that’s exactly how Christine Mortimer is calling on people to support St Giles Hospice.
Christine said her own family have used the St Giles furniture collection service, knowing that the funds raised by furniture sales will go towards helping people like her dad Peter Egan.
Lynwen Truesdale, Head of Retail at St Giles Hospice, said: “We are so grateful for the generosity of people like Christine as we can turn furniture donations into money which helps us provide care for local people and their families living with a potentially-terminal illness. It costs more than £10 million a year to provide these services.
“Getting rid of bulky furniture can be costly and inconvenient, so whether you’re upgrading your sofa, moving house or having a clear out, why not let us take the strain? Our collection service can spare you all the hassle and take away your unwanted furniture for free.”
Since 2015 more than £1m has been raised from furniture sales in St Giles Hospice shops across Staffordshire and the West Midlands.
Christine’s dad Peter, a long-distance lorry driver who lived in Tamworth, died in October 2004 after being diagnosed with lung cancer. He’d just celebrated his 59th birthday.
Since then his four children and eight grandchildren have all supported St Giles in various ways from taking part in Solstice Walks and the Rudolph Run to supporting the charity’s shops and even donating furniture.
Christine, also from Tamworth, said: “St Giles is always at the forefront of my mind when it comes to fundraising because of the kindness that was shown, not just to my dad, but to all the family. They were so lovely and considerate towards us. We’ll never forget that.”
When Peter was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2004, he was told he may only have days to live. But after being transferred to St Giles Hospice his health improved enough for him to return home for several weeks.
Christine, who works as a team leader for a distribution centre, added: “I’d always been scared of the fact that people go into hospices to die. But it wasn’t like that at all. In fact, he rallied and was able to come home for a few weeks and celebrate his birthday.”
Peter managed almost a month at home before being transferred back to St Giles in October.
“Being at St Giles was such a gift, not just to my dad but to all of us,” said Christine. “Nothing was too much trouble. Even the night before he died we went to visit him and ended up having a laugh at something on the TV. That was Dad all over – he would laugh in the face of adversity. Being at St Giles meant the world to us because it allowed Dad to be himself right to the end.
“After he died, my sister took advantage of the grief counselling service at St Giles which really helped her. Since then we’ve tried to give back as much as possible.
“I’m a regular visitor to the furniture store which I think is great. In fact, I recently bought two wardrobes and a chest of drawers there for just £120. It’s a fantastic way to support the hospice and grab a bargain at the same time.
“We know firsthand just how much it means to be cared for by St Giles so if we can help just one more family experience that care then we’ll continue supporting and donating in whatever small way we can.”
St Giles Hospice collects furniture from the Ashby, Burton, Cannock, Lichfield, North Birmingham, Rugeley, Sutton Coldfield, Swadlincote, Tamworth, Uttoxeter and Walsall areas.
Picture caption: Christine Mortimer (right) with Tamworth St Giles Hospice shop manager Shirley Doyle.