I received a call from my local hospice asking if I could help a gentleman who’d just recently lost his wife sell her clothes. Chris, the wife, loved clothes and shoes and had a vast collection of designer bags, scarves, coats, jackets and dresses. Phil, the husband needed help promoting a pop-up shop he was opening with his 2 grandchildren. One of the town centre shops kindly donated free space to the family for one week over half-term.
I knew I could help. Preloved Chica (that’s me) has her own YouTube Channel with a loyal fan base. The first step was to visit Phil at home. I spent 2 hours filming clothes and shoes and yes, there was enough clothing to open a shop!
Chris had style and was an avid collector of top quality designer clothing. When I saw the mountain of wooden shoe trees it was obvious she'd really looked after her shoes. She’d also fold t-shirts inside out to stop them fading, as a result her clothes were immaculate and well loved.
As Phil was describing his wife's clothes, the stories came tumbling out, he explained where his wife liked to shop in Paris, the San Germaine district. He described the places they used to go, every dress had its story. I pictured Phil imagining his wife in her fine clothes as he held up each item for the camera. It’s clear that Phil is still wrapped in the arms of grief but as he was talking I felt sure that his family would appreciate his honesty and his love for Chris. His story is portrayed so movingly in this video.
As I pulled away from Phil’s house my eyes started to well up with tears. Chris had died in similar circumstances to my husband, in the same hospice where the care was outstanding. I was right back to the time I spent in the hospice kitchen where there are no boundaries between the relatives and staff who shared the same space. Many times I received welcome hugs from the volunteer staff who just seemed to know what to say and what to do.
I've done my very best to support Phil and his mission to leave a legacy for his 2 grandchildren. The profits from the sale of all the clothes will be split 50:50 between the hospice and the grandchildren.
It took me over 8 hours to produce this video. Phil's pleased with the result and I'm sure there will be a huge crowd on the first trading day of the Pop-Up shop. Phil will also be joining me on my Preloved Chica ICR Time Capsule show next Wednesday to tell his story.
Working together towards this good cause will help unite the family as they come to terms with their grief and of course, St Elizabeth’s Hospice will get the important funds they need to continue the outstanding work they do for the community.
Phil has invited me to take my pick of the clothes before they go on sale. I will ask for the black Bally handbag and whenever I use this bag I will be reminded of Phil and his wife Chris.