“They were a bit surprised when I turned up with my lifetime collection of handbags”

In July 2015, Beverley Wadhams was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her journey through treatment and recovery inspired her to make an unexpected – but very welcome – donation to her local Marie Curie Shop.

“I think it was 55 in total,” says Beverley Wadhams. “Quite a lot of them were designer – Radley, various boutiques – all sorts of things.”

On January 28, 2016, the 48-year-old accountant from Wakering donated her lifetime collection of handbags to her local Marie Curie Shop in Southend-on-Sea. But if Beverley recognises the extent of her generosity, she doesn’t let on. She discusses it as if it were the most natural thing to do in the world – like making a sandwich or taking the dog for a walk.

“The only thing was physically getting them down there. That was quite an experience. It took three of us – my son and cousin had to come with me,” says Beverley.  “I think the people in the shop were a bit surprised when we turned up with it all.” 

Exceeding expectations

Sales from Beverley’s donation have already raised over £420 (including 25% raised through Gift Aid). This equates to over 20 hours of nursing care for people living with a terminal illness. 

When we called to let her know, she sounded shocked: “I really didn’t expect it to be as much as that. I’m so pleased. It’s made my day, it really has!”

So what inspired her to give so much of her pre-loved stuff? With characteristic understatement, she describes 2015 as “a difficult year”. In July she received news that she had breast cancer, just four months after her father had passed away.

“I’ve been very, very lucky though,” says Beverley. “I had a mastectomy and reconstruction in November. Being in hospital with other people made me realise I’m lucky.” Now back at work and continuing to make a good recovery, it’s made her appreciate her family and friends more than ever. “I had so much support. It renews your faith in humanity.”

Clothes for care

It’s an experience that understandably made her pause and reflect. Beverley didn’t need support from Marie Curie, but her illness made her realise the importance of high-quality nursing care.

“I thought: where would we be without nurses, carers and all the fabulous facilities?” she says. “People should be aware of the amazing job Marie Curie do in looking after people. Donating clothes or accessories to your local shop helps them care for people who maybe aren’t as fortunate as me. It’s a great cause and they need all the support they can get.”

And the donation has brought other benefits too. “I’ve also got a bit more space now, which is nice. I’ve only bought one handbag since!”

Got pre-loved clothes you no longer need? Donate them to your local Marie Curie Shop and help our nurses care for people living with a terminal illness.