Burnt offerings for Ann at Barnardo’s


Generous to a fault, Souters once donated a tombstone and a burnt fry-up to a Selkirk charity shop, according to one volunteer being praised for her 20 years’ service.

Ann Taylor, a 79-year-old great grandmother from Selkirk, has been volunteering in the Barnardo’s Scotland shop down the West Port for two decades – putting in 10,000 hours of her own time to help the children’s charity.

“We’ve had some strange donations over the years,” Ann revealed, “including a frying pan with a burnt egg in it, which we displayed in the window – it was quite an attraction.” But perhaps most macabre of all were two donations of human, or animal, remains. “A gravestone was handed in,” she continued, “and we’ve had some urns – two filled with ashes.”

History does not relate who made the donations, or why, but Ann was quick to reassure shoppers: “We have good quality stock to sell, thanks to the generosity of the people across the Borders.

“I’ve always enjoyed going to the shop from day one: it’s a lot of fun, we have a good bunch of volunteers, and I’ve made lots of friends, and got to know a lot of people in the town.

“I think I know just about everyone in Selkirk.”

To mark Ann’s decades of dedication, and to coincide with national Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7), she received a certificate and a bouquet of flowers from shop manager Mandy Cockburn.

“Ann’s been very generous with her support and she is a great volunteer,” Ms Cockburn said. “It’s an absolute pleasure to work alongside her. The charity simply couldn’t run their shops without the support of our volunteers. I’d like to say a big thank you to all of them.” Her team always welcomes new volunteers and donations – but not every item may be suitable for sale.

Among the usual books, vintage clothes and bric-a-brac, UK charity shops have reported other strange donations, including a coffin, a false eye, a live rabbit, a prosthetic leg, a box of cooked rice, a set of teeth, unwashed underwear, a bag of human hair, 10 blown light bulbs, used toilet brushes and a hand grenade. Police then had to shut the road and call in the bomb squad to deal with the explosive.