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Fun-loving nan becomes internet style sensation

Release Date: 10 Jul 2017

A 76-year-old shopper from Orpington in south London has created an internet buzz after embracing a style challenge laid down by children’s charity Barnardo’s.

Mary Parker won a fashion goody bag for her #MyBarnardosStyle contribution

Mary Parker, of Green Street Green, sought out bargains at her local Barnardo’s shop and enlisted her family to help create a series of off-the-wall posters in which she models her new clothes.

Mary, who has lived in Orpington for 25 years, wanted to do something fun after losing weight through ill-health, and the results of her creative shopping spree can be seen in a video that has already drawn more than 1,000 views on Facebook and 100 more on YouTube.

Called Orpington’s Next Top Model, it shows Mary styling outfits in different situations like running for a London bus, relaxing outdoors at an artist’s easel or enjoying a ladies’ lunch with granddaughter Emma.

One of the posters Mary Parker created features her styling a Barnardo's-bought outfit running for a London bus.

Mary, of Glentrammon Road, said:

I recently lost nearly two stones in weight through ill-health, and my eldest daughter Jackie suggested I go to a charity shop to buy a completely new summer wardrobe.

I went with my younger daughter Lorraine to our local Barnardo’s to choose seven items, which I bought for just £26. The original idea was for just a little bit of fun, but it turned into the best 10 days making the video with my family.

The cash Mary spent on clothes at the Green Street Green Barnardo’s will go directly towards the charity’s work supporting the UK’s most vulnerable children, young people and families.

As well as finding stylish outfits on the racks, Mary entered the charity’s #MyBarnardosStyle competition online and won a fashion goody bag.

Another of the posters Mary Parker created features her modelling clothes from a Barnardo's shop while painting at an easel outdoors.

Barnardo’s Green Street Green Sales Associate Gemma Oake, who helped Mary put the outfits together, said:

Mary and her family clearly had a lot of fun as a result of her spending spree, and we’re so pleased that her trip to our store sparked so much enjoyment and creativity. Our racks are bursting with stylish summer outfits so I’d encourage anyone who’d like to refresh their wardrobe to come and see what Barnardo’s has to offer.

Click here to see Mary’s video on YouTube.


Notes to editors

For more details please contact Dan Hodges on 07887 737 048 or email

Pictures available showing the posters created by Mary and her family, and Mary with her fashion goody bag.

Last year 272,000 children, young people and families were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 1,000 services across the UK, including young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, and through training and skills or parenting classes.

We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future. But we cannot do it without you. Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605.

Follow Barnardo’s media team on Twitter @BarnardosNews

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