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Tuesday, 07 July 2015

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Ailing van threatens Ulverston charity delivery work

MANY people are not even aware it exists – let alone how important it is in raising money for St Mary’s Hospice.

The furniture warehouse in Barrow takes donations from people across South Cumbria and sells them on to generate income for the charity.

And in three years it has been a huge success – but the delivery van that sits at the heart of the operation is on its last legs.

The trusty vehicle, used to collect and deliver furniture, is coughing and spluttering up to its next – and quite possibly final – MOT in March.

Former Barrow RL favourite Derek Hadley, who has been volunteering since he retired from his job at GlaxosmithKline three years ago, said the van has done around 40,000 miles in a little over three years.

He added: “It has been a good workhorse for us but it hasn’t got a cat in hell’s chance of passing its MOT.”

Matt Robinson, 17, came into the warehouse as a customer one day with his dad – little did he know he would soon be volunteering five days a week.

He is frequently out on the road, helping transport large quantities of furniture across the area.

He said: “We spend a lot of time in the van. There are things we are not legally allowed to sell but we do try to take all we can.”

And the days can be long, particularly considering the volunteers spend a lot of their time shifting various bulky items – from sofas to washing machines.

But they never complain.

Matt said: “I enjoy doing it. It’s a good job and never gets boring.”

Another volunteer, Tony Leech, is also used to clocking up the miles for the hospice.

He drives the retail van, picking up donations to the hospice’s various charity shops.

He said the shops are dependant on the vehicle to keep them stocked but in recent months it has been spending more time off the road.

He added: “The clutch went once when I was in Barrow and the other week it failed to start.”

To support the Evening Mail’s Reaching Out campaign and help make sure hospice staff and volunteers have vehicles they can rely on, visit www.justgiving.com/reaching-out to donate.


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