Mary Queen Of Charity Shops has hit our TV screens and, having seen episode one and lived though the making of the series, I can safely say this show has pushed every iota of Mary's know-how, patience and experience to the absolute limit. Given a fading Save the Children store in Orpington, Kent (there are about 10 other charity shops on the street), Mary has to turn it round from making just £900 (at most) a week into £2,000 a week. But how are you supposed to do that when you can't control the merchandise, you can't choose your staff because you rely on volunteers, and even when you plead for better stock, nothing better comes in. That's the story of tonight. Mary was reduced to tears more than once in frustration. Asking one lovely old volunteer why she refused to work the till, the woman replied, ‘I've only worked here for 12 years, I'm not trained on the till yet.' But the biggest problem is the poor state of donations given to the store. While sifting through one particular bag on tonight's show, Mary pulls out what can only be described as a crusty bra. She also discovers that some people think mud-caked shoes are a decent donation. So what did Mary do? And does she succeed with a work force with an average age of 78? You'll have to tune into BBC2 at 9pm tonight to find out, but we have a feeling it'll make YOU want to help make a difference.
So, together with Mary Portas we're launching a pop-up charity shop at The Village in Westfield London shopping centre on Thursday! We've already been inundated with donations from stars and fashion folk but we REALLY need your clothes. A top that's too small for you now, a coat that's been hanging around your wardrobe unworn, high street, designer or vintage – every little will help stock our shop and raise money for three amazingly worthy charities. And it couldn't be easier to donate.
HOW & WHEN YOU CAN GIVE:
Drop off your donations at any Save the Children shop in the UK, or send your donations clearly marked for 'MARY'S LIVING AND GIVING SHOP' to Save the Children collection depot in Derby. Save the Children collection depot, 4a Cotton Brook Road, Sir Francis Ley Industrial Park South, Derby DE23 8YH.
Alternatively, you can drop off your donations at Grazia HQ from 19 May to 4 June. Strictly between 9am and 6pm at 189 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JG. For further information call 020 7295 6779.
Come to Westfield London from 4-27 June when Mary's Living and Giving Shop in The Village opens and drop in your donations, before you carry on shopping. The shop closes on 27 June. Mary's Charity Shop will be next door to Donna Ida and Twenty8Twelve on the first floor in The Village at Westfield London.