Peggy’s vision led to charity’s vital shops
Award for Rennie Grove volunteer commended for selfless commitment and dedication which lead to creation of retail empire
Peggy Bainbridge, 85, has been commended for the creation of the Rennie Grove Hospice Care retail trading empire.
Her selfless commitment and dedication has earned her one of the country’s highest accolades – a British Citizen Award (BCA).
The volunteer and businesswoman, who owns 24 stores across Bucks and Herts, received her BCA Medal from Pat Egan of Places for People, one of the sponsors of the award, at the Palace of Westminster on July 7, after devoting more than 25 years to voluntary work.
Mrs Bainbridge said: ‘It’s an honour to be presented with such a prestigious award. I’ve worked hard throughout my life in order to benefit others. When I found out I was being recognised for a BCA I was so thrilled. The store may have turned into a business but it hasn’t lost its heart, people are still the reason for what we do every day.”
Rennie Grove Hospice Care is a charity providing care and support for patients in Bucks and Herts diagnosed with lifelimiting illness.
After being widowed in her late 30s, Mrs Bainbridge was left to raise two children alone.
Not allowing her circumstances to become an obstacle, she discovered a small team of nurses working as part of Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, caring for terminally ill people in the community.
She was inspired to support their efforts and decided to set-up a small market stall in 1992 mainly selling ‘bric-a-brac’ to raise funds.
After promising that she would make a profit in her first week, she made £77 and the following week, £100.
The stall quickly grew in popularity and generated much needed income.
Mrs Bainbridge then approached the CEO of the organisation with a proposal to open a shop – she found the store space and even negotiated reduced rent with the landlord.
The retail arm of the charity now boasts more than 850 volunteers helping to run 24 stores based in various villages and communities, including Chesham, Holmer Green, Chalfont St Giles, Chalfont St Peter and Beaconsfield.
Mrs Bainbridge continues to give up her time for Rennie Grove Hospice Care trade and retail teams, despite suffering from a life threatening illness.
She works once a week at a depot used to sort and store donated items.
The stores earn the charity one third of its required £6.5million annual budget.
Ms Bainbridge was nominated by Geoffrey Palmer OBE, who said: “Peggy is quite simply an extraordinary person who, since its earliest days, has played a great part in the charity’s growth and success more so than any other individual.
“She alone was responsible for the birth and expansion or its retail outlets, and for that she should be proud.”
Founder of the Rennie Grove Hospice Care retail trading empire Peggy Bainbridge, 85, receiving her British Citizen Award from Pat Egan at the Palace of Westminster