CHARITY shopping has gone upmarket with the opening of a brand new superstore.

Mayor Brian Jones cut the official ribbon for St T’s Superstore, on McMullen Road, Darlington, as dozens shoppers flocked through the doors to grab a bargain from an array of homewares, antiques and up-cycled furniture.

Shoppers were entertained by the Woodside String Trio as they set the tills ringing with the first purchase of the day, a £120 grey painted dressing table, made within a minute of the store opening.

Store manager Rose Wills said: “It’s wonderful to see so many people here today supporting St Teresa’s Hospice.

“The store is like a treasure chest, we never know what will come in and no two days are ever the same. We have everything here to furnish an entire home, from sofas, tables and chairs, to bedroom furniture, lighting, decorative items, even a grand piano and of course our fabulous up-cycled painted furniture which I’m sure will fly out the door.

“The hospice costs £2m a year to run, which is the equivalent of £4 every minute, so we hope that people will continue to give generously to our store and that shoppers come in knowing that every penny of their purchase goes to a very good cause.”

St Teresa’s Hospice which provides care for people in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire, already operates charity shops in Darlington, Thirsk, Richmond, Leyburn, Northallerton, Barnard Castle and Shildon.

The new retail unit offers thousands of square feet of retail space, warehousing, a distribution centre, an eBay department, as well as facilities to sort, renovate and restore a host of donated goods and for the first time St T’s will also deal in ‘graded new appliances’, slightly damaged and unused returns in white goods, ranging from dishwashers and fridges to freezers and washing machines, which all come with a six-month guarantee.

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw added: “I can’t thank everyone enough, especially our volunteers who have worked tirelessly on this new venture.

“This is our flagship store and every single penny raised here will go towards providing free care and support to local people.

“We have a great team of furniture restorers on hand and stock is changing on a daily basis so I hope everyone will keep coming back and pass the word round that you can bag a bargain and help the hospice.”

The store will be open Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm and Sunday, 10am to 4pm, but will be manned outside these hours to accept donations.

St Teresa’s is also looking for extra volunteers to help in sales and the distribution departments. Anyone interested should contact the superstore on (01325) 488701 or St Teresa’s Hospice on (01325) 254321.