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Bi C Beccles charity shop opened

PUBLISHED: 15:47 24 July 2008 | UPDATED: 07:32 01 August 2010

The first Big C charity shop to open outside Norwich is outselling its city rivals.

The Beccles branch, on the market place, was officially opened on Wednesday by Norwich's sheriff Roy Waller and the charity's trustee Theresa Cossey on Wednesday but first began serving customers on June 30.

THE first Big C charity shop to open outside Norwich is outselling its city rivals.

The Beccles branch, on the market place, was officially opened on Wednesday by Norwich's sheriff Roy Waller and the charity's trustee Theresa Cossey on Wednesday but first began serving customers on June 30.

In its first week of trading the shop made £1,450, compared with £1,390 at the shop on Timber Hill, Norwich, and £1,191 at the Castle Meadow branch. It also beat the Norwich stores in the following two weeks and staff are hoping this week's sales will continue the trend.

Daniel Williams, Big C's chief executive, said strong support from people in Beccles during fundraising drives had prompted the charity to open the shop. He said: "We wanted to go somewhere where we could be embraced by the community. We already had a good bank of supporters, so it made sense."

So far the charity's faith in the community has paid off. Richard Lee, Big C's retail development manager, said the shop had received a lot of donations and already had 18 volunteers working there. He added: "We still need some more. Ideally we need four volunteers a day, so we're looking for 24."

As well as stocking the usual range of shoes, books and clothes, Mr Williams said he hoped the shop would eventually house an information centre to give advice and support to customers in the same way the Big C centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital does.

He said: "You could go there with your worries and it doesn't matter what those worries are. What we want to do is to make sure people do not have to go all the way to Norwich."

The charity stressed that, as a Norfolk and Waveney charity, money made at the new branch would help people in the area.

Funds raised by the town's shoppers could go towards a new mobile breast screening unit and expanding the Big C centre at the N&N.

Roy Waller, who cut the ribbon at the shop's official launch, had a personal reason for supporting the store.

He said: "After my cancer scare three years ago, when I had a cancerous growth removed from my bowel, I was one of the lucky ones who survived. So much is done these days to relieve the causes and I felt that this was my way of giving something back by opening the shop."

Big C hopes the Beccles shop's early success will carry on and it plans to open another 12 branches across Norfolk and Waveney over the next five years.

For information about Big C, call 01603 619900.

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