THE weird and the wacky, the collectable and the mundane are flying off a hospice’s store shelves as the health lockdown stimulates interest in eBay sales.

Buyers from around the globe have been scouring St Teresa’s Hospice’s eBay store in search of a bargain.

Renowned for being an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’, St Teresa’s Hospice accepts donations ranging from a bizarre hair growing helmet, complete with miracle solution and fetching green sparkling carry-sack, to bric-a-brac, box sets and book collections.

eBay volunteer Pete Bradshaw says the lockdown has seen a growth in on-line sales activity from across the UK, China, Russia, America and Europe.

“We are managing to sell some surprising and unusual items – I’ve just sold a dozen tea-towels sporting ‘Only use in an emergency’, which have suddenly become relevant.”

Top sellers have included electronic games and paraphernalia such as PS, DS, x-Box and Wii equipment, musical instruments, including a guitar, which went to Ireland, an embroidery sampler to someone in California, a fondue set to Spain, Villeroy and Boch storage jars to Russia, and a silver pencil holder to the US.

“It is all kinds of items which people feel they need when they have time on their hands and they are stuck at home,” said Pete.

“We have had one lady who bought a Le Creuset pan for her husband’s birthday because he is stranded in Glasgow – she asked us to include a birthday card from her sending him her love, which we were happy to do.

“We are getting some lovely feedback from customers wishing us well and asking us to keep up the good work. They understand how all of the Hospice’s usual fundraising and shops had to be closed due to the lock-down”

Each post also includes details of St Teresa’s Hospice’s virtual #hugtoStTeresas emergency funding appeal complete with a link to the Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/campaign/HugToStTs.

St Teresa’s Hospice needs £3m a year to continue its work to provide a raft of core services free of charge to patients and their families who are affected by life-limiting illness in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

It relies almost completely on donations but most of its traditional fundraising events have had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis and all its charity shops, except eBay, have had to close.

Despite welcome support from the government’s emergency response, which compensates for some of the lost income from closure of the Hospice’s shops and curtailment of all fundraising events, the Hospice will still face a deficit this year. The emergency appeal will run until such time as this is no longer the case, otherwise their vital services remain under threat.

Hospice innovations have included asking café-goers to donate the money they would normally spend on a cuppa, joining the virtual dogshow #StTsPawtraits and asking commuters to donate the cost of a tank of fuel now they are not travelling.

Pete added: “I’ll just keep on selling on eBay whatever we still have in stock to keep some money coming in, so the hospice can continue its vital work.”

The St Teresa’s Hospice store can be found at http://www.ebaystores.co.uk/St-Teresas-Hospice-Shop.