It’s 21 years since the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind opened a charity shop on Highfield Road, South Shore.
By Jacqui Morley
The traditional coming of age was celebrated in style by the charity known as N-Vision today.
The shop has raised £1.7m since it opened in November 1998 with the profit, once rents, wages and overheads are paid, going direct to services supporting more than 2,000 people living with sight loss across all three local boroughs.
The charity, which has recently redesigned its logo to boost awareness, has two charity shops – the other on Victoria Road West, Cleveleys.
South Shore shop manager Margaret Evans joined the charity in April 2001.
She said: “I wanted to do something good for the community. I was very lucky in my choice of charity.
“We’re not some big national chain. N-Vision does nothing but good. We play our part too. We have regulars who don’t speak to anyone else all day. We make people feel welcome. Highfield Road is a community in its own right.
“The charity would be nothing without volunteers. Some of our team have been here from the start.”
Three of the longest serving volunteers Molly Shaw, Sylvia Marley and Trish Harty were among guests of honour at the 21st party. Molly’s 94 in September!
Mags added: “Staff came from the charity and Princess Alexandra Home to do us proud. We had a buffet, raffle, speeches and more.”
Each donation supports the lifeline service across all three local boroughs – and some of the most poignant come after bereavement.
Mags recalls the team’s tears on the death of the late great Pat Mancini in 2011 – dubbed the Queen of Blackpool for her years at the Queens Hotel and her support of local charities.
Mags added: “When Mrs Mancini died, we were given a lot of her clothes, mostly designer, fabulous handbags, Armani shoes, exquisite cut glass and more. It made a lot of money for the charity. It was also very moving for us all here.
“She meant a lot to us.
“Pat had a really big heart. We still miss her.”