Shop story

Meet ‘Winston’ the Toby Mug

We caught up with Daniel Lopez, E-Commerce Manager who shares the life cycle Winston takes on the way to sale.

I think we can all agree there is something quite exciting having a hunt through a charity shop for those hidden bargains. I love finding things that someone else has given and making sure they go on to a home where they can be appreciated again.

This Toby Mug was kindly donated here at Terminus Road on Saturday. The previous owner had already been setup on Gift Aid so St Wilfrid’s can claim 25% of the sale value from HRMC at absolutely no cost to the donor – so this item is especially welcome.

(A Gift Aid form is available in all our stores and on our website here).

Within a few short minutes the warehouse team have checked the item over noting any signs of wear, makers mark etc. On this occasion, Winston goes in the Bric-a-Brac sorting station ready to be cleaned and allocated, whilst the team review its value. St Wilfrid’s is lucky to have a network of volunteers who come in with their own specialisms and expert eye for certain things. From a nautical historian, to ceramic collectors and vinyl fanatics, we have someone who can appraise an item of its true value in most circumstances.

After a thorough clean with sensitive but effective disinfectant the jug is securely wrapped for transport to our East Street Shop where the item is destined to have pride of place in the new shop display for next week. East Street like many of our stores refresh the look and feel of main display areas on a weekly basis as wonderful items like these arrive and inspire the volunteers’ creativity.

A new day dawns, and Winston makes his way to East street amongst the flagship store’s other new arrivals. There he is greeted by our volunteer who checks the Toby Mug over once more as he is given a polish and pride of place in the new bric-a-brac display area at the front of the store.

Winston is such a collector’s item and rare find in this great condition, so is soon snapped up by an enthusiastic customer who wants to bring him home to live with his new twenty+ member toby mug family. Because he was registered as a Gift Aided item, we will be gratefully receiving 25% more than the purchase price from HRMC at no cost to either the donator or new customer. And Winston gets a new loving home!

There are many more wonderful things to discover in our shops like Winston. You can find our shop opening times here or try a shift as a retail volunteer.

However much time you can give really does make a difference.  And age doesn’t matter. There are a few volunteers still at school who help out at weekends, which gives them a great grounding on customer service and an important skill to add to their CV. Others in retirement do it for the comradery we share and that collective rush of excitement when new things come in and sales are fed back.

For further information about a role to suit you talk to our volunteering team today on 01243 755815 or email


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