THE GRANDSON of a pioneering North-East charity’s founder has spoken of his delight at being asked to open its newest retail outlet.

The latest Butterwick Hospice charity shop was officially declared open for business by Stephen Ward, the grandson of the charity’s founder Mary Butterwick, and his wife, Kate.

Having been involved in the charity over the years, the married pair have now taken up the positions of Butterwick ambassadors, helping to carry on Mary’s incredible legacy.

Stephen and Kate said: “When we were asked to become ambassadors, it was just amazing, we couldn’t say no. This is our first function in the role. We’re thrilled to be asked to open the shop.

“We’re used to being more in the background, but we’ve always supported the hospice, and we want to help to look after this wonderful charity and keep Mary’s memory alive.”

The new shop, located in Bishop Auckland town centre at 61 Newgate Street, has allowed the charity to triple the size of its retail presence in the town, and to sell furniture for the first time.

Shop manager Julie Raine said: “The bigger shop will allow us to stock a lot more, so that will hopefully mean we make more money. We also have room to sell furniture now, which is going to make a massive difference.”

Butterwick Chief Executive Officer Debbie Jones said: “This a great opportunity for us to try out something new in a town where we know we have a lot of support and where the community is really good with us.

“At the moment we have 12 retail outlets and a warehouse. Some of the shops are very small, so if we can make the expansion of this shop a success, we hope to look at doing this elsewhere.”

Butterwick Hospice depends on the goodwill and dedication of its many volunteers, particularly within the retail sector. Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact voluntary services manager, Neil Bankhurst, on 01388 603003, or email volunter@butterwickhospice.org.uk.