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Community / Sharon’s Swapshop raises more than £10,000 for CLAN

Sharon's Swapshop raises more than £10,000 for charity. Photos: Wendy Inkster

ORGANISER Sharon Deyell was “floored and absolutely amazed” by the turnout after queues gathered outside the Aith Hall for her much-anticipated swapshop event on Sunday.

Deyell attributed the high donations to the local support for CLAN Cancer Support. She said: “The trump card is CLAN, because I bet there’s nobody here that’s not been affected by that.”

Total funds raised hit £10,167 by 5pm and with more donations flooding in, Deyell will announce the final total on her Facebook page later this week.

Sharon Deyell: ‘I’m just blyde that I’m here to be able to do it.’

This year’s charity choice was particularly poignant for her as she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

“This time last year I had just turned 50, had my first mammogram and it was picked up at that,” Deyell said.

“So, there was no swapshop, I had to go for surgery and radiotherapy, and I was sitting in CLAN one night and thought to myself ‘if we ever have a swapshop again I’m going to donate all the money to CLAN’,” she said.

“There was just something special about staying in the CLAN haven, and you didn’t have to pay a thing. I’m just blyde that I’m here to be able to do it.”

Deyell revealed that some local people made large donations as they’d also used the service CLAN provides and wanted to give something back.

The long-running swapshop allows people to pick up clothes and accessories in return for a donation.

This year’s event also saw the highest amount of clothes donated ever, with locals giving up hundreds of bags at clothes at various drop-off points across Shetland.

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More than 100 helpers spent all day Saturday setting up at the hall ahead of the opening on Sunday.

The entire hall was packed with rails of clothes, encompassing the stage and entry hallways, while teas and fancies were on offer in the Rankin lounge.

Leftover clothes will be donated to several other swapshops happening across Shetland in the next month, and winter supplies will also be donated to the St Ringan’s Community Hub in Lerwick.

Star prizes in the raffle included two dresses donated by TV personality Lorraine Kelly, and a Burra Bear.

The dresses came accompanied with a signed photograph of the TV presenter wearing them. Other prizes included a return trip for two donated by NorthLink Ferries, and EnQuest gave £100 in cash.

More than 4,000 raffle tickets were sold, with people buying tickets online from as far away as the United States hoping to win one of the star prizes.

Despite this, the top donations were scooped up locally. Margaret Morrison and Elaina Johnson took home with Lorraine Kelly dresses, while Julianne Nicholson won the Burra Bear.

Janis Nicolson has been helping since the first swapshop held in Deyell’s house back in 2007.

She said: “It’s been incredible, I think Sharon was a bit doubtful for how it was going to go but we knew it would. Usually, the first hour is the busiest but it’s been busy all day. There’s something for everyone, no matter how young or old.

“For some folk this is a highlight of the year, and you wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

After the swapshop got bigger it moved to the Bixter Hall before outgrowing that venue too. Previous events have raised more than £5,000 for charity at a time.

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