Barnardo's Scotland celebrates retirement of its longest-serving shop manager
Barnardo’s Scotland says a fond farewell to one of its most dedicated members of staff this week in Fife.
Amelia Howie, one of the original volunteers in the Barnardo’s shop in Cowdenbeath, will say farewell to the shop after 44 years dedication and after raising £1000s to support the charity’s local services.
The shop opened in 1975 and throughout its 44 years trading Amelia has been receiving and preparing donations, dressing the shop window; making customers welcome and keeping the till ringing.
Amelia volunteered for 21 years before being made shop manager and has remained in that role ever since.
She first heard about the idea for a ‘temporary’ shop over 40 years ago, at a Young Wives Group. One of Barnardo’s fundraisers, Mr John Reekie, gave a talk in the local church in November 1975 asking for ‘a group to fundraise for four weeks at Christmas!’
Amelia thought Barnardo’s Scotland was a worthy charity to volunteer for and so her career began – more than four decades where everything from flares to 1980s-style shoulder pads and 21st-century fast-fashion have passed through her hands.
Over the years Amelia has met and made a lot of friends with other volunteers and customers. She says they have had their fair share of ups and downs, surprises and lessons learned, and been there for each other through it all.
“The highlight of 44 years has been the people I have met and worked with” she says. “This job is about community. The same families come into the shop again and again, in some cases it’s the fourth generation now!
“We have also trained well over 200 volunteers and seen them gain confidence and skills with us, which has been so worthwhile.
“In 1986, I had the pleasure of meeting Diana, Princess of Wales, at a celebration of volunteers, and that was a special career moment for me.
“It has been a privilege to work for Barnardo’s Scotland and support its work with children and young people. Vulnerable children still need help today, just as much as they ever did.”
“I’m looking forward to switching off my alarm clock and relaxing in retirement, I’ll be spending more time with my family but my colleagues here have been like family too, I will miss them very much”.
Deriel Watt, area business manager, said: “We’re really sorry to be saying goodbye to Amelia but pleased to be celebrating this milestone with her.
“Between Amelia and our two long-term volunteers May Scott and Ella Neilson, who work with her, the shop has over 100 years accumulated service - there’s clearly something special about this shop, or perhaps it’s the ladies that make it special.
“I’d like to pass on my thanks and gratitude for her total dedication to the charity and on behalf of the charity, warmest wishes to Amelia in her retirement.”
Amelia’s retirement celebrations will take place on Thursday 11 July at Cowdenbeath North Church where she will be presented with a gift.
To find out more about volunteering for Barnardo’s and details of local vacancies, please visit www.barnardos.org.uk/volunteering
Notes to editors:
Pictured LtoR May Scott (retired), Amelia Howie (retiring), Ella Shanks (still volunteering) - all started volunteering together in the Cowdenbeath shop when it first opened.
Barnardo’s Scotland works with more than 16,300 children and young people in over 140 specialised community-based services across Scotland, and more than 100 shops across the country directly supporting the services. Our work includes: fostering and adoption services and support; helping children break free from sexual exploitation; supporting young carers; helping young people in to employment and helping children living in poverty.