Handbags sale to celebrate birthday

HANDBAGS: Joyce Morton, who is holding a series of sales of handbags and accessories - donated to raise at least a grand for Breakthrough Breast Cancer

HANDBAGS: Joyce Morton, who is holding a series of sales of handbags and accessories - donated to raise at least a grand for Breakthrough Breast Cancer

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SALES of bags, belts, scarves and chunky jewellery are being held next week in a challenge to raise at least £1,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Although organiser Joyce Morton said the sales will probably raise more than that, given the amount and quality of handbags and other donations received.

This is a very imaginative – if tiring – way of the retired Buchan School teacher celebrating her 60th birthday, which is on Wednesday (March 9).

‘For my 50th birthday milestone, I hosted a Pink Party for friends and neighbours, asking them to wear something pink and we had pink foods and drinks and lots of laughter! We raised around £300 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer that night,’ she said. ‘Now 10 years on, I’ve accepted the challenge from Breakthrough Breast Cancer to try to raise £1,000 and to do it in just 10 days!

‘One of the ideas suggested in the fundraising pack was to have a handbag sale and this was the start of: “Handbags and Gladrags”.’

Donations have poured in, she said, people have left piles of hand bags and accessories in the porch of her home in Castletown.

‘I’m really, really shocked at the generosity of people, which is phenomenal. People are giving things that cost over a hundred and some nearly a thousand pounds,’ she said.

Her involvement with the charity began several years ago when her sister Susan, who lives in England, developed breast cancer. Given Joyce’s personal experience of the disease, she said the sale is about more than fundraising.

‘I could have signed a cheque but that’s not what it’s about, it’s about making people aware of what can be done, it’s about connecting rich women with poor women, old women and young women. It was more about connecting with people using the idea of a bag sale as a platform to raise awareness.

‘It’s about people feeling part of something bigger than themselves, it’s about more than clearing out cupboards.

‘It’s about how when breast cancer is in the family it does affect everybody. By doing this it gives you a way of talking to somebody about it and hearing their story. Everybody knows somebody with it.

‘Survival rates are better these days and if people talk about it, it helps to make it not that awful scary thing, a hidden thing that’s behind hands. The money is far less of a focus, it’s about connecting with people and listening to what they have to say.’

She thanked her friends for their help and said it would not have been possible without them.

With hundreds of bags filling up her home, she said: ‘I need to get people to buy or no money will be raised for the charity,’ and joked: ‘And my husband will leave home!’

Big Bag Sales are on: Monday, March 7 at King William’s College Performing Arts, 10am to midday and Noble’s Hospital, 2pm to 3.30pm; Tuesday, March 8, Toddle Inn, Living Hope Community Church, Port St Mary, 9.30am to 11.30am; Wednesday, March 9, Toddle Inn, Lanky, Santon, 9.30am to 11am and Chequers, Cherry Orchard, Port Erin, 12.30pm to 2.30pm and Creggans, Brookfield Avenue, Castletown, 4pm onwards; Thursday, March 10, The Buchan School, Castletown, 8.30am to 11.30am and Callow’s Yard Coffee Shop, 1pm to 4pm; Saturday, March 12, Living Hope Community Church, Port St Mary, 10.30am to 12.30pm; Thursday, March 17, Kionslieu Farm, Higher Foxdale, 2pm to 4pm, and 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

• Donations of bags can be brought to the sales or dropped off at Joyce’s house at Creggans, Brookfield Avenue, Castletown, phone 823036, 416158.

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