I have always loved a good rummage around a charity shop. As a teenager I grew up in a sleepy market town in North Yorkshire. It was the late 70’s early 80’s;  punk and new romantic was the thing and I wanted to be part of it! The only clothes shop in my town was an Army and Navy! Great for Levi’s but not much else, unless you were keen on the army look! Well it was a garrison town! No, it wasn’t camouflage I was interested in, I wanted to stand out!

Punk dress


Every Saturday morning I was dispatched to do the shopping for my Mum and right next door to the deli was my Mecca, the Sue Ryder charity shop. A wealth of wardrobe madness!

I would come home with my treasure, make all the necessary alterations, no need to wash anything, much to my parent’s horror, and voilà, a fashion masterpiece that most importantly nobody else would be wearing.

My particular favourite was a two piece suit that Jackie O would have been proud of. Peacock blue with a short box jacket and skirt that I made so tight that the only way to move was to do a strange over exaggerated  mincing action. Never mind, I was convinced it looked fab and it went perfectly with my blue hair (remember the peacock blue crazy colour hair dyes?) and my Mums original winkle pickers. Oh yes, I looked the part, strutting my stuff (a kind of shake your shoulders and try to look cool manoeuvre) to tainted love at the Hugh Ripely hall disco!

Vintage Dressmaking Pattern

The shop has moved on now, sadly it doesn’t sell clothes anymore but it does have other cool stuff.

Sue Ryder shop in Ripon


Although I am familiar with the Sue Ryder name I had no idea what the charity did until recently. I had a vague notion that they worked in Africa to help the poor but I had no appreciation of what they really did. It would seem that I wasn’t the only one; the charity have recognised that their shops were better known than their work and are making changes to raise its profile and let the public know what they do so that they can reach more people in need. They are a national charity providing health and social care in local communities to support people with long-term and end of life needs. They have thirteen care centres in the UK, they train and educate healthcare professionals and work with the Sue Ryder Centre for Palliative and End of Life Studies at Nottingham University. They also operate overseas, providing health care in Malawi and Albania, (I kind of got that bit right!). Click here to Find out more.

Sue Ryder logo

Part of the work they are doing to raise awareness is to develop their online profile, did you know they have their own ebay shop that sells second hand bargains and an online shop, “New Goods That Do Good”?  To get their shop stocked with fabulous products, handmade in the UK, they are running a competition and The Dotty House have entered. We have entered a handmade canvas picture of a fabulously sparkley fairy.

Fairy Canvas Picture

Click to vote for our fairy

To win she has to get more votes from you than any of the other entries. To vote is really easy it take a few seconds and two clicks, all you need is a Facebook account. Click on the link and then and click vote, no need to give any of your details or answer any questions, just a quick couple of clicks and it's done. Click to vote.

If you have a little longer take time to follow the other links on this blog to find out more about this brilliant charity.