Unique Items Donated to Phyllis Tuckwell Shops


A vintage Yves Saint Laurent blazer, an Alexander McQueen dress and a Lalique glass vase are just some of the unexpected items which have been donated to Phyllis Tuckwell’s local charity shops, which are located across its catchment area of West Surrey and North-East Hampshire.

Phyllis Tuckwell provides supportive and end of life care for local patients and families who are living with an advanced or terminal illness, such as cancer, and its retail shops raise over £2.3 million a year to help fund this care. They are stocked with fantastic, quality second-hand items, from clothes, shoes and accessories, to books, games, CDs, DVDs and even furniture, all of which has been generously donated by the local community. It also sells many items online, through websites such as eBay, DePop and Vinted, including pre-loved streetwear, vintage and unique statement fashion.

“We receive a wide variety of donated items, but sometimes one will just stop us in our tracks,” says Barry Young, Retail Operations Manager at Phyllis Tuckwell. “Some particularly memorable ones are an Alexander McQueen Dress which we sold on DePop for £550 but which would be worth over £2,500 if purchased today, a vintage Yves Saint Laurent blazer which we sold on Vinted for £150 but which would have originally cost over £500, a vintage Chloe blouse which we sold on Vinted for £175 but would originally have been worth over £550, and a Moncler coat that sold on Depop for £250 but would originally have cost £750. We’ve also sold a painting and a ring at auction, the painting for £3,500 and the ring for over £6,000!”

All of the saleable items which Phyllis Tuckwell receives are sold in one of its 18 shops or online, and items which it is not able to sell are repaired, upcycled or recycled, as much as is possible.

“Our Guildford High Street shop offers a restoring and upcycling service,” continues Barry. “Two of our volunteers, Amanda and Christine, are really passionate about upcycling and are both very creative. They have painted, restored and reupholstered many items of furniture which have been donated to us, giving them a new lease of life and enabling us to sell them in our shops. They have also created three-tiered cake stands from donated plates and saucers, with customers choosing their preferred plates so that the final piece is truly unique and personal to them.”

Phyllis Tuckwell’s volunteers are an amazing team and, as well as offering fantastic customer service to those visiting their shops, they are the first to help when something out of the ordinary comes along.

“We once received a wonderful photo album containing over 200 family photographs dating from the mid 1920’s to early 1940’s,” explains Barry. “It was obviously an item of huge sentimental value, and we wouldn’t have sold such a personal item, but it was donated anonymously, so we couldn’t track down its owner to return it. Despite containing so many photographs, only around a quarter were captioned and mostly with forenames only. However, Paula and Sue, the manager and volunteer at our Godalming shop where the album had been donated, were determined to find its owner, and by using the few details which were in some of the album’s captions, as well as Census records and the National Archives, they finally tracked down the family whom the album belonged to and reunited it with them. As you can imagine, they were delighted!”

Phyllis Tuckwell is always looking for more volunteers to help in its shops, so if you have a passion for helping others and an eye for an unusual donation which could have special value or interest, they would love to hear from you. You can call take a look at their current retail opportunities or contact their Voluntary Services team on 01252 729400 or email voluntary.services@pth.org.uk

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