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Star Wars star launches glittering new Barnardo’s store in Barkingside

Release Date: 07 Nov 2017

Shoppers queued to be first inside the new Barnardo’s shop in Barkingside High Street, east London, as it reopened following its first major refit in 30 years – with a little support from a Star Wars veteran.

Linda Bowley cut the ribbon to relaunch Barnardo's Barkingside shop following its first full refit in 30 years

Staff and volunteers worked behind closed doors all week to complete the shop’s transformation, filling the new displays with stylish bags, shoes, clothes and gifts before the grand unveiling at 10am on Friday, November 3.

Local star Linda Bowley, who played an Ewok in the 1983 film Return of the Jedi and who grew up in Barnardo’s care at the former Girls’ Village Home in Barkingside, was invited to cut the ribbon and declare the store open.

Linda, 63, who returned to  live in a retirement cottage in Village Way eight years ago, said:

When I came through the shop door it was like a breath of fresh air. It looks brilliant and it’s even more accessible on my mobility scooter, which I call my Ferrari. I like to come in and tell people about the work Barnardo’s does supporting vulnerable children and young people around the country.

I was lucky when I was a child because I was looked after two ladies, known as housemothers, for the whole time I grew up in Barnardo’s care. I love being back on the Village Green now and I never tire of going round the village, which has so many happy memories for me.

Linda Bowley cut the ribbon to relaunch Barnardo's Barkingside shop following its first full refit in 30 years

The children’s charity’s Barkingside store opened in 1986 and except for a few adaptations over time, had never had a full overhaul. It has been completely transformed, with a fitting room for customers and top quality goods for sale including children’s toys and games, Christmas cards and gifts, accessories, jewellery, clothing, DVDs and bric-a-brac.

Barkingside store manager Debbie Westwood said:

Our stock room was a really challenging space before. We had to use the fitting room to store donations, so it’s great to have more space and for customers to be able to try on the clothes again.

“The shop feels completely new and we’re really proud of it. Money spent here helps to fund Barnardo’s work with disadvantaged children and young people in Redbridge and beyond, so I’d encourage everyone to come down to the high street and see what we have to offer.

Barnardo’s Barkingside store is at 46 High St, Barkingside, Ilford IG6 2DQ. It is open 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.


Notes to editors

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

Picture captions: Staff and volunteers worked throughout the week to prepare for the reopening of Barnardo’s Barkingside store on November 3, when local star Linda Bowley (centre) was invited to cut the ribbon.

Last year 272,000 children, young people, parents and carers were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 1,000 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, 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.

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