Kind-hearted staff at a department store in Wrexham are aiming to give an early Christmas present to a hospice which helped a colleague when she was a little girl.
The team at Marks and Spencer at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre are organising a special, ticket-only shopping event between 7pm and 9pm on Wednesday, November 16, in aid of Nightingale House.
The evening will include bucks fizz and mince pies on arrival followed by wine and food tasting, beauty demonstrations, bra fitting advice and the chance to purchase a host of special Christmas offers.
They’re hoping to add to the £40,000 they’ve raised for the hospice over recent years.
Hospice fundraiser Eleri Smith and her daughter, Elinor, 20, who works as a customer assistant at M&S, have a personal reason for supporting the event.
Elinor had counselling and help from the hospice’s bereavement service following the sudden death of her dad, David, when she was just six.
Unbeknown to the family, Mr Smith, an aircraft fitter at Airbus, had a hereditary hear condition and suffered a massive heart attack.
Elinor said: “The help I received meant a lot to me and shows that Nightingale House is much more than a hospice.
“Nightingale House supported me and gave me one to one bereavement counselling and a lot of support.
“They helped me come to terms with my dad’s sudden and unexpected death and showed me it was OK to feel the way I did. They explained it was normal to be upset and what I was experiencing was natural.”
She added: “I still find it difficult to talk about my dad or accept what happened to him but I also understand, thanks to the help I was given, that what I experience is perfectly reasonable and to be expected.
“I’ve worked at M&S for more than four years now and the fundraising staff have done on behalf of Nightingale House is amazing. I’m really proud the store has done so much.
“Everyone gets right behind the fundraising initiatives and gets involved. The November shopping event will give our fundraising a really big boost and I hope people will support what will be a fun night.”
Her mum, Eleri, said “The help Nightingale House Hospice gave Elinor following her dad’s sudden death was remarkable and helped a great deal.
“David was just 42 and his sudden death completely devastated our family. We still find it very difficult to talk about what happened.
“But Nightingale House Hospice is now very important to me which is why work as a fundraiser for them today.”
She added: “The staff at M&S Eagles Meadow raised more than £10,000 for Nightingale House last year alone which is remarkable.
“The support we get from the M&S team is just wonderful and means a great deal. It means we can help more families than ever.
“Tickets for the M&S shopping event are just £5 and are available at the hospice’s income generation department or at the M&S Click and Collect counter in the Eagles Meadow store.
“I hope people support what will be a really fun social evening in the store with the chance to grab a Christmas bargain or two as well.”
According to M&S section manager Ceri Roberts, staff from all departments are determined to beat last year’s Nightingale House fundraising total.
She said: “We really want to beat what we raised last year and that was a fantastic amount. The shopping event will include a raffle and lots of other fun goings on.
“Our regular customers here in Eagles Meadow are very supportive and I’m sure it will be a sell-out night so I’d encourage everyone to get their ticket early!”
Kevin Critchley, Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre manager, said: “I fully support the M&S team and their fundraising activities for Nightingale House.
“Their ticket only evening shopping events are always well supported and a really enjoyable occasion. I wish them all the success in the world.”