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Staff and volunteers at the Marie Curie Cancer Charity shop in Corstorphine celebrated their 20th anniversary on Monday with a party attended by long-time supporter, Scotland and British Lions rugby legend Ian McLauchlan, who presented 13 awards to staff and volunteers in recognition of their excellent work in raising money on behalf of the Marie Curie Hospice

The hospice offers specialist care for people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses and support for families, completely free. The in-patient unit has 25 beds, and also a fully-equipped day service department and some services are offered in patients’ homes. Other services include physical, emotional and spiritual care for patients together with support for the people who are close to them. The hospice employs a team of health and social care professionals, including medical and nursing staff; specially trained in pain and symptom control; occupational therapists, chaplains, physiotherapists and social workers.

The charity also provides palliative care, which focuses on helping patients to maintain the best possible quality of life, and includes a variety of treatments to help with any physical problems as well as social and psychological needs. Support also extends to your family and friends who may have concerns about their relatives’ illness.

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One of the volunteers receiving an award was 93 year old Winifred ‘Winnie’ Allan who has been helping out since the shop first opened in the district in 1993.

Winnie told the Edinburgh Reporter:- “I started 20 years ago at the wee shop along the road when it first opened, working behind the counter on the tills. It’s really good for me to come in here every Monday, and I open the bags, steam the clothes and put price stickers on goods.”  The active pensioner also keeps busy delivering church magazines and organising the ‘Heather’ Bowling League who recently celebrated their 25th anniversary.

Although Ian has no formal links to the charity, he is always keen to help out the worthy cause, but maintains that his involvement is minimal compared the helpers.

Listen to his interview here:

The 71 year old former loose-head prop who won 43 caps between 1969 and 1979, and captained the side 19 times, including during the famous 1973 Calcutta Cup win over the old enemy, lives locally and officially opened the current premises when they moved from just along the street five years ago, after being invited by a neighbour.

He also played in eight test matches for the British Lions during the 1971 tour of New Zealand and the 1974 tour of South Africa, only finishing on the losing side once, and is best remembered for scoring the try which helped the Lions win the first test against the All Blacks, although the ever modest Ian took some persuading to describe it.

Ian is chairman of The Lions Trust and the Scotland Ambassador for SOS Kit Aid a charity which collects unwanted rugby gear for distribution to Eastern Europe or Africa to help promote rugby in a wide variety of nations. He is also a director of the charity Hearts and Balls which provides help for those suffering serious injuries whilst playing rugby.

Shop manageress Allison Smith told the Edinburgh Reporter: -“This is the 20th anniversary of having a Marie Curie shop in Corstorphine, although we have only been in these premises for five years. It also happens to be Volunteers Week, and today 13 Volunteers and staff were presented with awards from Ian McLauchlan who was kind enough to come along. Ian is a friend of the charity and a neighbour of his asked him to attend which he did. He also opened this shop five years ago.

“We currently have 24 volunteers, the youngest being Chloe who is 16 and the oldest being Winnie who is 93 and has been working at the shop since it first opened in 1993. We take in mainly clothes and books but we can’t take anything electrical as we can’t test it.

“We are always looking for extra help, particularly on Saturdays which are the busiest day for us, and also on Sundays as we have just started to open between 10am and 4pm to see if it’s viable.

“All the money we raise goes to the Hospice in Fairmilehead.”

Anyone wishing to donate to this worthwhile cause can do so by visiting http://www.mariecurie.org.uk/en-gb/donate/Donate-today/