St Catherine’s market stall is the perfect way for Stephen and Barry to give back to charity
Regulars to Preston’s bustling market are used to bagging a bargain from fun-loving duo Stephen Evans and Barry Wilkinson – but they may not be aware of the serious sentiment behind the pair’s playful banter.
The friends volunteer for St Catherine’s Hospice, and set up the stall at Preston Market around 12 months ago.
They get up at the crack of dawn and always have a smile on their face and a joke to share – and are poised to bring in an incredible £20,000 in their first year as market traders for the charity.
They became involved with the Lostock Hall hospice after their loved ones were diagnosed with cancer, and now get a great sense of pride out of giving something back – whilst having a laugh in the process!
Barry, from Penwortham, said: “My wife was being cared for at home by St Catherine’s before she died, and I donated all of her clothes afterwards.
“I started volunteering in the donation centre two years ago, just to get me out of the house so that I had something to do, and avoid getting stuck in a rut. Then I had the idea to set up the market stall – I’ve worked on Chorley market selling shoes and I just thought it would be worth trying for St Catherine’s.
“Stephen soon joined me and suggested we sell more than just clothes, so we also have electricals, handbags, accessories and sometimes bric-a-brac now.
“We work well as a team and one couldn’t do the job without the other. We can sell anything – you’d be surprised!”
The pair are up at 5am on Tuesdays and Thursdays ready to start at the market at 6am, and by lunch time they’ve usually sold all of their stock.
Barry is used to hard work, having worked as a sheet metal worker, a driver, and pub landlord.
“I just really enjoy it,” he said. “We have our regulars and we also sell to other traders. I get a real buzz out of it; it’s such a good atmosphere.”
Stephen previously volunteered at the St Catherine’s furniture store in Preston, before relocating to the donation centre. He now gives as much time as he is able, sorting through stock in the onsite donation centre and working the market stall with Barry.
“I really enjoy the banter,” he said. “We sell cardigans for 50p and jeans for a pound, and closer to dinner time we’ll offer them at three for a pound and they just fly off the shelves. People are queuing up for the St Catherine’s stall – it’s great!”
Stephen wanted to give something back to the charity after his dad died of cancer.
“I just wanted to do something to help,” he explained. “The staff do such amazing work at St Catherine’s. It makes me really proud to volunteer for such a worthy cause.”
Samantha Jones, the charity’s donation centre manager, said: “Stephen and Barry are really inspirational and we’re all so impressed by their ‘get up and go’ attitude!
“It’s volunteers like Stephen and Barry who make St Catherine’s so special. They’ve found something they love doing, and have made it their own. They’re very talented at what they do, and we’re so lucky to have them on board at St Catherine’s.
“Volunteering brings people a great sense of satisfaction and can boost people’s confidence as they learn new skills and gain new experiences, as well as make new friends like Stephen and Barry.
“There are plenty of roles to choose from for anyone interested in giving their time to the cause, from working in our charity shops, on reception, helping out in the inpatient unit, in our kitchen, at The Mill café, as drivers, and much more.
“We’re always on the lookout for enthusiastic people to join our dedicated team of 700 fantastic volunteers, so I’d urge anyone interested in getting involved to get in touch and find out more about the benefits of volunteering.”
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