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

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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

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