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Brenda Blethyn OBE officially opens our Godalming charity shop

February 13, 2024

Award-winning actress Brenda Blethyn OBE took time to officially open our charity shop in Godalming on Wednesday (7 February), before visiting families supported us at our Guildford hospice, Christopher’s.

Brenda was joined by singer and songwriter Julie Forsyth, who has a long-standing history supporting Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, with her father Sir Bruce Forsyth hosting the first large scale event for us in 2003.

The pair arrived to a huge crowd eager to meet, chat and take photos with them, before Brenda cut the ribbon across the shop door, to officially declare the shop open. They then took time to meet with shop staff, volunteers and supporters of the charity, and as the star of ITV’s hit show Vera, Brenda used her detective skills to scout out some amazing bargains at the shop, while admiring the specially designed ‘Vera’ inspired shop window.

Both Brenda and Julie have attended our annual Shooting Star Ball, donating amazing items to be sold at their auction and last month, they both attended a special reception at St James’s Palace in aid of the charity, spending time speaking about their support.

Following the official shop opening, Brenda and Julie visited Christopher’s. Here they met with families supported by us for some delicious tea and cake and special activities. Brenda was also presented with a special canvas made by children at the hospice of her dog, Jack.

Brenda Blethyn OBE said, “Julie and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit, the welcome we got in Godalming at the Shooting Star charity shop was lovely. The enthusiastic crowd that was outside was astonishing, we were so delighted by it. Then we came over to Christopher’s to find not a dismal place, but a wonderfully bright, colourful and life-enhancing place. The people we met here are just the most wonderful people you can meet, and families we met have taught us a lot.”

Julie Forsyth echoed Brenda, “It’s quite overwhelming actually and makes you feel very humbled by the situation because every story is just heart-breaking and I think everyone who works at Shooting Star is amazing – they keep everyone going and it’s such a wonderful place for families to come, and to come back. I spoke to a lady who lost her son last year and she’s still coming because of the bereavement support Shooting Star offer, which is simply incredible and I’m in awe.”

Karen Sugarman MBE, Executive Vice-President at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices said, “It was wonderful to welcome Brenda and Julie to both our Godalming shop and our Guildford hospice. They have both are such fantastic to our work. It was a very special day. They have continued to help us in any way they can and have remained by our side, which means so much to us all at the charity.”