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Hospital charity shop forced to make way for new M&S

PUBLISHED: 15:49 16 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:10 16 February 2018

James Paget University Hospital League of Friends charity shop in happier times. Photo: Andy Darnell

James Paget University Hospital League of Friends charity shop in happier times. Photo: Andy Darnell

Archant © 2010

A major redevelopment of the James Paget University Hospital’s foyer will see a new café and the arrival of M&S - at the expense of its current charity shop.

This week, the 26 volunteers of the James Paget University Hospital League of Friends were informed their current shop in the hospital foyer would have to make way for an M&S in a new commercial development.

The shop has been in the hospital foyer for more than 30 years, selling gifts, trinkets and bric-a-brac to raise funds for any equipment hospital departments desire.

In this time, it has raised almost £2m, purchasing a plethora of items including a neonatal transporter, bed movers and iPads for the paediatric theatre.

Val Dray, the shop’s manager, who has been a volunteer for 26 years, says its members are devastated by the news.

Mrs Dray, 76, said: “Lots of people are very disappointed - our volunteers are very upset.”

Mark Flynn, director of finance at the hospital, said: “We are working to create new commercial premises as part of a wider programme of enhancements to catering arrangements at the hospital.

“Alternative fundraising office accommodation has been offered to the Friends on site. We have also discussed the potential of the Friends working more closely with the hospital charity as we both seek to enhance services for our patients in financially challenging times.”

“I recognise the Friends’ disappointment at losing their current shop and I want to thank them for everything they have done so far.”

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