Ilkley shop marks its 30th year of helping Sue Ryder charity work

Wharfedale Observer: Volunteer Debby Comer, assistant manager Graham Dew, volunteer Elaine Craven and manager Andrea Driver Volunteer Debby Comer, assistant manager Graham Dew, volunteer Elaine Craven and manager Andrea Driver

A charity shop is looking back on 30 years of supporting efforts to help people with long-term, palliative and end-of-life care needs.

Opened in January 1983, the Sue Ryder shop in Cowpasture Road, Ilkley, has seen decades of donations flowing in from the community and shoppers supporting the work of the charity.

The Sue Ryder charity provides home care and home support, plus community nurse specialists, but is best known for running 13 care centres across the UK.

Among these are Manorlands, at Oxenhope, near Keighley, and Wheatfields, in Leeds.

The Ilkley shop building itself originally housed grocery and provisions store Walmsley’s – noted as “The House for Good Bacon”.

In November 1982, a lease was signed between the cause’s founder herself, Sue Ryder, Baroness Ryder of Warsaw and Baroness Cheshire, and Joan Robinson, the mother of the current landlord.

Today the shop is supported by 30 volunteers but is always keen to find more helpers in the community, as well as encouraging donations of more goods to sell, plus donations of funding directly to the charity.

Shop manager Andrea Driver said: “If it wasn’t for our volunteers we wouldn’t be able to run it.”

She also thanked the wider local community for its long-running and continuing support.

There have been a number of changes at the shop over the years.

It once housed a first-floor cafe. And one of today’s two longest-serving volunteers once worked in the cafe.

In 1988, the Ilkley shop received the charity’s Best Achievement Award for the north west area, a year in which it raised £38,000 for the cause.

The Ilkley shop also housed regional offices of the charity in the past.

Among other developments which have taken place over the years have been a novel bridal boutique.

The shop set up a specialist section for second-hand bridalwear on its first floor in April 2007.

Today, however, the space has been devoted to a popular second-hand books shop.

A new initiative developed by Mrs Driver, who arrived in 2011, has been the sale of new musical instruments.

The shop is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

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