Pennies really do make pounds and a Hornchurch shop has raised more than £11,508 for Saint Francis Hospice by encouraging customers to make a donation instead of charging for nominal services.
Lee Blackledge, who runs Tiptop Shoe Repair shop in the High Street wanted to support the charity after it cared for his dad Ron Blackledge in 1997.
So he came up with the idea of giving people the opportunity to put money in the charity’s collection box on the counter rather than asking them to pay for work that required little cost or effort.
“It is always good to raise money for charity but it is even nicer if you have a connection with the charity and our family will always have a personal connection with the hospice,” said Lee, who also owns Home Sweet Home along the High Street.
“The care my dad and family received went beyond nursing and inspired me to raise money for the hospice.
“My dad was there for a quite a few weeks and during that time the staff got to know our names and would even sit with us for a while.”
The father-of-two says the initiative has worked well and people feel like they are getting something for nothing, even though they are giving money to the hospice.
“Sometimes if you stick something or put a hole in a belt, it seems silly to charge for it,” he said.
“Most customers put in at least £1 and often give £5 once they know it is going to Saint Francis Hospice.
“The charity is well recognised in this area as it helps a lot of people so customers are happy to support it.”
Lee’s mum Kathleen Blackledge has been volunteering at the Hospice for 20 years, helping at fundraising events, hospice social events and in recent years, supporting the charity’s pastoral care team by serving refreshments after their Services of Remembrance and Thanksgiving for relatives of patients who were previously under our care.