• cathybevan8

Staff and volunteers in triple celebration at British Heart Foundation Bridgend

Martyn Bishop, Huw Irranca-Davies MS, Keith Shaw, Sarah Murphy MS, Ben Llewellyn

It’s a month of celebrations at the British Heart Foundation’s Furniture and Electrical Store in Bridgend, with a long-standing volunteer having his contribution recognised, the shop marking its 10th anniversary, and the charity’s 60th birthday, all happening in July.

Store manager Hayley Dunford has run the shop for 9 years and said it’s been wonderful to acknowledge the valuable impact her staff and volunteers are making after a very challenging time.

“Everyone is delighted that we’re able to be up and running again, after the pandemic forced us to close for so long. Our customers are coming back like old friends, and it’s been such a joy to see our volunteers and staff returning to the shop and making a real difference to help the BHF fund life-saving research into heart and circulatory disease,” she said.

“It’s such an amazing feeling working here and being able to talk to all our lovely customers again, hearing their stories and finding out why they choose to shop with us. Very often they’ll have a really important reason for coming here and supporting the BHF, because they or a loved one has a condition which we’ve funded research for.”

Keith Shaw has volunteered at the town centre shop for five years. Hayley said, “Keith is such a special member of our team. He has a pacemaker himself and he volunteers as his way of giving back to a charity which he feels has helped him and he has a really strong connection with.”

Bridgend MS Sarah Murphy presented Keith with a commemorative British Heart Foundation pin to commemorate his 5 years of volunteering and Ogmore MS Huw Irranca-Davies joined her in congratulating Keith on his contribution, as well as uncovering a treasure for himself among the shop’s packed shelves.

“It was a real pleasure to join Hayley and her team at the Bridgend BHF store, and with my colleague Sarah Murphy MS to present a volunteer award to Keith,” Huw said, “It was an unexpected bonus to find a pre-loved turntable and CD player for my home HiFi system too, at a bargain price and with a 6 month guarantee. My ‘90s punk records are back on the turntable! I’d strongly recommend a visit to the store to see their new and pre-loved items of furniture and bedding as well as electrical goods, not least as every penny you spend goes to tackling heart and circulatory disease too.”

Martyn Bishop has volunteered at the store for two and a half years, and Ben Llewellyn has volunteered for four months. Along with Keith and rest of Hayley’s team they perform a variety of roles from stock management to deliveries.

Hayley said the shop stocks a wide range of new and donated items - but they are always looking for more. They do collections throughout the region and will deliver as far as Bristol. While many people come forward for volunteering roles, it can lead to them finding paid work, so Hayley said the team is always keen to hear from new potential volunteers.

“As we mark our charity’s 60th Anniversary on July 28th, it would be fantastic to welcome more new volunteers to our stores across Wales,” she added.

To find out about volunteering with the BHF go to www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/volunteer

July marks a critical time for the BHF – the largest independent funder of research into heart and circulatory diseases in Wales and the UK. The last year has been the hardest in the charity’s 60-year history. The Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on its income and as a result, research funding had to be cut in half, putting future life-saving discoveries at risk.

Heart and circulatory diseases cause one in four of all deaths in Wales, around 9,300 deaths each year - an average of 26 people each day, and around 340,000 people are living with heart and circulatory disease in Wales.

For more about the work of the BHF and how you can help support its 60th anniversary visit https://www.bhf.org.uk/birthday

Keith Shaw
Huw Irranca-Davies MS, Keith Shaw, Sarah Murphy MS
Huw Irranca-Davies MS, Keith Shaw, Store Manager Hayley Dunford, Sarah Murphy MS