Tuesday, 01 September 2015

Dedicated duo set to close Barrow shop for last time

OLWYN Kirk and Sheila Moon have devoted the best part of the past four decades to raising money for charity.

But next month they will close the doors to their Scott Street shop Charité for the final time to begin well-deserved retirements.

They have donated more than £40,000 to countless charities and organisations raised from the sale of second-hand clothes, shoes and accessories.

However, as much as they have cherished their time together in the Barrow store, as well as their interactions with loyal customers, the two women are saying goodbye.

“We’ve had a lot of fun,” Mrs Kirk said. “We never thought we’d still be here after all these years. But we’ve been thinking about retirement for the last three to six months. When we first opened we were the only charity store in Barrow. Now, they are everywhere. Takeaways and charity shops are everywhere in Barrow.”

Their involvement in charity shops began with a store in Buccleuch Street raising money for the Sue Ryder foundation before they moved into their current Scott Street premises.

The idea’s success was built around a simple premise whereby half of the profits from the sale of the clothes went to the donator and the other half to charity.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, various health groups and local volunteer emergency services are just some of the regular recipients of cheques from Charité.

But one of their fondest memories was a significant donation to the Evening Mail in 1991 to help sponsor a guide dog for the blind.

“We had the most gorgeous picture of us out the front giving the editor of the Evening Mail the money and it was on the front page,” said Mrs Kirk, who had three children with her late husband Dr David Kirk.

Barrow shopper Joan Stevens is a regular visitor to the store and said its imminent closure on December 20 would leave a significant gap in the local retail sector.

“All the clothes at the other stores are for young people,” she said.

“It’s so hard to find clothes for older people. I will miss it. You always see nice things in here.”

Mrs Moon, who has two children with well-known local accountant Gerald Moon, said she and Mrs Kirk would like to thank all the people who contributed to their success.

“We have had many wonderful volunteers donate their time over the years and we are very grateful,” she said.

“We will miss our customers, but we have had a great time. Things aren’t as easy anymore because of the recession and I think a lot of people buy and sell on eBay now.”

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