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Barkingside man and former Barnardo's boy launches volunteer campaign

PUBLISHED: 10:32 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:05 04 June 2019

Mark Gill outside the Barnardo's store in Wanstead. Picture: Scott Roberts

Mark Gill outside the Barnardo's store in Wanstead. Picture: Scott Roberts

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A Barkingside man who lived at a Barnardo's home when he was six-months-old and seriously ill has launched a campaign to encourage people to volunteer at the charity's shops to help support vulnerable children and young people.

Mark Gill inside the Wanstead store. Picture: Scott RobertsMark Gill inside the Wanstead store. Picture: Scott Roberts

The children's charity is looking for people to volunteer at its stores in Barkingside, Chingford, Chigwell, Loughton, South Woodford and Wanstead, as part of National Volunteering Week which started on Monday (June 1).

Mark Gill, who now lives in Barkingside, came into Barnardo's on April 30, 1953 when he was six-months-old.

He lived at the charity's Woodford Bridge home for four months, but he soon became seriously ill and was transferred to the Barnardo's Barkingside Village for specialist hospital care. After spending three years recovering, Mark enjoyed the rest of his childhood in the cottages on the green.

Mark said: "In 1996 I began working for Barnardo's first of all in the marketing and communications department, and eventually finance where I stayed for around 17 years until I retired in March, 2018. In total I worked for Barnardo's for 21 years and the charity has had a huge impact on my life."

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When Mark retired he decided that he still wanted to play an active role in supporting Barnardo's so he started volunteering at the charity's shop in Wanstead on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Mark said: "There's quite a variety of things to do and volunteering gives you a great 'feel good' factor. For me it's about giving something back to Barnardo's. When you volunteer in the shops every day is different.

"For people considering volunteering with Barnardo's I would say definitely give it a go, you've got nothing to lose and the children supported by the charity have everything to gain by your generosity."

Volunteers can choose from a wide variety of roles - from helping behind the scenes by recycling, sorting and pricing the donations and steaming the clothes, or to helping on the shop-floor by arranging window displays, styling mannequins or serving customers at the till.

To find out more about volunteering with Barnardo's, pop into your local Barnardo's stores or visit the website at www.barnardos.org.uk/volunteering.

For more information, email london-volunteeringenquiries@barnardos.org.uk or call 0208 498 7320.

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