A NORTH-EAST charity shop is playing Cupid by offering couples an alternative to buying cards this Valentine’s Day.

The Butterwick Hospice Care charity shop on Skinnergate, Darlington, has turned its shop window into a giant Valentine’s Day card to spread love and raise money. Customers can write messages to their loved ones on a red paper heart and display it in the shop’s window for all to see, or keep it secret and send it to their beloved.

Julie Turnbull, relief shop manager, explained: “We’re asking the public and our wonderful customers to show their love for the Butterwick and each other. Instead of sending a card this year, put your message on one of our hearts, put it in the window, and set-up a lovely surprise for the love of your life.”

She added: “We hope that some passersby might just get a lovely surprise if they look in our window, and that together we’ll raise a lot of money to help care for terminally ill children and adults this Valentine’s Day. Some of the messages we’ve had already have been so sweet, we’ve nearly been in tears.”

Hearts are available directly from the charity shop in return for a donation to Butterwick Hospice Care.