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90-year-old volunteer Muriel helps Barnardo’s Cymru celebrate shop’s 30th birthday  

murial diaz
gill coombes

After an adventurous life as a nurse and midwife in Peru Muriel Diaz is still helping others at the age of 90 - by volunteering at her local Barnardo’s Cymru shop.

Now the oldest volunteer at the store in Priory Street, Cardigan will be helping staff and customers celebrate the shop’s 30th birthday alongside the youngest volunteer, 16-year-old Kiah Huurdeman.

Shop manager Gill Coombs said:

“Muriel is amazing, she’s been volunteering with us for 20 years and still comes in once a week to do sewing for us. At the other end of the age range Kiah has been volunteering while studying for her GCSEs at Cardigan College.

“We are very lucky to have 17 wonderful volunteers, but we can always do with more.

“Lots of people in the town have a connection to Barnardo’s and working here is really rewarding, even if it’s just for a couple of hours each week as they are helping support our services and the people who need them so desperately.  

“We believe we are the longest standing charity shop in Cardigan and it has been great taking a look through the photo albums and seeing pictures of our Victorian days and the day the shop was opened by Eirian Radley, wife of the former chairman of Ceredigion District Council.”

Muriel was persuaded to volunteer 20 years ago after moving to Cardigan following an action-packed 32 years in Peru with husband Alberto where she worked as both a nurse and midwife.

“It was an interesting time. For six weeks a year I would relieve a nurse in a jungle clinic so she could have a holiday. It could be hair-raising as there was no doctor and the nearest hospital was 90 miles away,” she said.

Her weekly sewing stint with Barnardo’s might be low key in comparison but it’s still a job worth doing.

“I really enjoy it. It seems such a shame if a good quality garment gets thrown into a black bag because a hem is down or button is missing. If I can make it good again and raise money for Barnardo’s services then I know I’ve done something worthwhile, said Muriel.

The shop’s 30th birthday takes place on Monday August 14th and Gill hopes that as many past and present volunteers, staff and customers will call in and help celebrate.

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