‘Thank you for helping us make £1m at Christmas’

Celebrating taking �1 million since its incepetion are, from left, Cards for Good Causes Stamford shop managers Beryl Kirtland and Brenda Day and area organiser Sue Berridge

Celebrating taking �1 million since its incepetion are, from left, Cards for Good Causes Stamford shop managers Beryl Kirtland and Brenda Day and area organiser Sue Berridge

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A huge festive ‘thank you’ has been issued to the people of Stamford after the town’s Cards for Good Causes shop celebrated taking £1 million.

Since Beryl Kirtland took on the management of the shop, which runs from St John’s Church in Stamford, in 2001, the hard-working volunteers have put the seven-figure sum through the tills – and in the process banked hundreds of thousands of pounds for a variety of charities.

Cards for Good Causes sell festive cards online and through a nationwide network of pop-up shops and as well as the Stamford store, there are outlets at Rutland Water and Oakham Castle. Currently at least 70p in every pound of sales goes to the relevant charity.

Every year, more than 20,000 visitors pass through the doors in Stamford and, according to Beryl, it is thanks to these customers and the support of a team of more than 70 volunteers and three other managers – Brenda Day, Anne Garbutt and Susan Burgoin – that the shop has grown to such a success.

It is now the eighth largest Cards for Good Good Causes shop out of 310 in the country. The Stamford shop sells eight designs for each of the 45 charities, including a host of local causes.

Beryl and her team of volunteers say it is a huge achievement to reach the milestone figure.

Beryl, who lives in Oakham, said: “What a wonderful achievement and it is all thanks to our fantastic customers. It is such a huge sum of money and the thousands of pounds made for the charities will make such a big difference.”

As well as customers and an army of volunteers, Beryl is also supported by the Churches Conservation Trust which owns St John’s Church and allows the Cards for Good Causes shop to call the church its home.

The shop closed on Sunday after 10 weeks of trading but for Beryl and the team, preparations started in the autumn, and finishing off will continue into the new year.

Beryl came across Cards for Good Causes when she approached them to stock cards for Headlines – a cause close to her own heart. Coming up to retirement from her role as a food advisor, she was asked if anyone could take on a Stamford shop – and 16 years on, she has never looked back.

She says it is hard work but describes it as an “absolute pleasure”.

Beryl, 75, who is also the chairman of the Friends of Oakham Church in Oakham, has no plans to step down from the role she took on.

She said: “I like the ethics of it – we can support lots of charities and we meet lots of people. We can also support the wider community in different ways.

“It’s such a feel good factor and it is what Christmas is all about.

“But it is a team effort and I wouldn’t be able to do it without the other managers and the volunteers.

“I am so proud of the shop and what we have all achieved.”

As well as stocking cards, Beryl is determined the shop is at the heart of the community. For two weeks at the start of this month, it hosted the Christmas Tree Festival in conjunction with Stamford and District Lions Club; it regularly hosts charity stalls and raises money itself for causes like Children in Need with popular cake stalls.

It also supported the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal with a collection box and was one of the biggest fundraising points in the town – and the Beauvale Ensemble play annually in the church.

Every year since 2006, the church has been decorated in a different theme – and each year, someone in the community who supports the shop has been invited to open it.

Cards for Good Causes’ area organiser Sue Berridge said: “The money raised in the Stamford shop is a phenomenal amount over a relatively short timescale and it is a great achievement from a fantastic team.

“We have fantastic support from the local community in Stamford and without their continued support this would have been impossible – so I just want to say a huge thank you to all of them and of course, a very Happy Christmas.”