Features / Sharon’s Swapshop: a paradise for clothes lovers

Sharon Deyell: 'the swapshop is the highlight of the year for many people' - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNews

More than £5,300 have been raised for charity at Sharon Deyell’s hugely popular swap shop on Sunday. After rummaging through piles of unwanted clothes Shetland News reporter Genevieve White emerged with this report:

For five hours on Sunday afternoon, Aith Public Hall was transformed into Sharon’s Swapshop: a bustling paradise for clothes lovers.


Dresses and coats hung from clothes rails, while trousers and jumpers were piled high on tables. Jewellery dangled from the walls and the stage was taken over by shoes of every colour and heel height imaginable. Clothes hunters perused the wares, chatting amicably as they did so.

It was hard to believe that only 26 hours ago the hall was empty. Sharon Deyell and her 50-strong team of family and friends had spent most of the previous day transforming the space into a breathtakingly well laid-out and efficient clothes swap shop.

Sharon’s Swapshop has been on the go since 2007 and has become an important date in the diary of local clothes lovers. It started out on a much smaller scale: back in 2007 Sharon decided she would like to host a Macmillan coffee morning, but suggested that people also bring along a couple of bags of clothes they could swap. “It just kinda took off from there!” Sharon said.


After two years Sharon’s house was no longer a big enough venue, and so the swap shop moved to Bixter Hall, before relocating to the more spacious Aith Hall in 2012.

The money from each Swapshop goes to charity, and the amount raised has increased dramatically over the years: from £614 in 2007 to more than £5,000 raised in 2014.

After five hours of swapping clothes more that £5,300 were raised.

The charities chosen to receive the money vary from year to year: this year swapshoppers were invited to nominate any causes they would like to see share in the proceeds.

Sharon is clearly aware of her swap shop’s popularity. “I asked my daughter what would happen if we stopped organising this event and she was quite shocked at the idea – she said there would be an uproar!

“So many folk say to me that it’s the highlight of their year – which is good for me to hear especially when it’s folk on the team saying that – I sometimes feel as if I’m asking a lot of them with requests for baking and so on…”

The swap shop, though busy, is a straightforward and enjoyable way to simultaneously replenish and de-clutter your wardrobe.

Simply donate any unwanted clothes, then turn up on the day and fill your bag with anything you like the look of. Posters on the wall exhort you to “Swap till you drop!” yet there are ample fancies and refreshments available in the adjoining Rankin Lounge to revive you before you feel the need to keel over.

Local women Lella Nicholson and friend were among the swappers enjoying a restorative cup of tea and comparing loot. “There’s something for everyone here” said Lella.


“It’s a really nice day out – nice but exhausting! It’s great that the money goes to local charities. Every year the men’s rail seems to shrink though…”

Men certainly had turned out in rather smaller numbers, making two male swappers in the Rankin Lounge rather conspicuous. William Darrell, was keen to show off the jacket he had chanced upon, while his friend, Tim Matthew, had been sent on a mission: to find clothes for his girlfriend who was at work that day.

Tim had been scanning the clothes with “a female eye” and admitted that he found his task quite “a scary responsibility. I really hope my girlfriend likes what I’ve chosen”.

On leaving the swap shop at 1pm I learned that the total raised so far was £1005.72. With four hours of clothes swapping left to go it looked set to be a bumper year for Sharon’s Swapshop.