Charity shop delights

Charlene Ricthie, Shelter Scotland shop manager waves hello to a strange donation.
Charlene Ricthie, Shelter Scotland shop manager waves hello to a strange donation.

A full dominatrix set, a china doll with a lock of human hair glued under its clothes, a mummified cat, loose teeth with the roots still attached and 40 life-sized plastic pigeons are just some of the strange donations made to Scotland’s national housing and homelessness charity.

According to Shelter Scotland, which runs a network of over 30 shops nationwide, weird and wonderful donations are frequently made by members of the public. The charity has compiled a list of what to and what not to donate to its charity shops.

Donations recently received by Shelter Scotland shops include:

· A full dominatrix set – with ‘only one previous owner’ was donated to a shop in Glasgow.

· A dominatrix set was also donated in Paisley, equipped with several masks, nipple clamps, whips and handcuffs.

· A pair of freshly honed Samurai Swords donated to the charity’s shop in Paisley. The shop manager phoned the police who collected the items as part of a knife amnesty.

· A box of loose teeth with the roots still attached was donated in Glasgow.

· A caravan was donated to the charity’s Dundee shop.

· A full bag of dirty underwear – around 30 pairs – was donated in Glasgow.

· A china doll with a lock of human hair glued under its clothes was donated in Edinburgh.

· A bag of dozens of severed doll’s heads with all of the eye lids glued shut or painted black were donated in Glasgow.

· A tailcoat with a ticket to the original 1973 production of Rocky Horror pinned to the inside was donated in Edinburgh.

· 40 bright blue life-sized plastic pigeons were donated in Edinburgh.

Other strange items include a pair of used dentures, complete with an open tube of Fixodent gel.

Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: “Our supporters have donated some wonderful items over the years that have raised funds for our vital work. There are times however when we open the donations sacks and are left flabbergasted by what we find. My personal favourite was the china doll as it had obviously been someone’s treasured possession before it was donated to us, as was the mummified cat.

“We welcome all donations – within reason - and some of the more interesting items are certainly conversation starters with our customers. We’re sometimes pleasantly surprised by what some people actually buy.

“Whatever the donation, every penny we raise through our shops goes towards our fight to end homelessness and ensure that everyone in Scotland has a safe, secure and affordable place to call home.”

Alison added: “While some of the weird and wonderful donations might raise a laugh, Scotland’s housing crisis is no laughing matter. Today in Scotland 150,000 households are on waiting lists for a home and over 35,000 people made homelessness applications in the last year alone. We are counting on the public to support us so that we can carry on with our vital work.

“It costs just £10 for one of our expert advisors to help a family or individual at risk of losing their home – we can raise that money by selling an unwanted dress or pair of shoes, but sadly not a mummified cat which did not sell.”

Along with the more unusual items, Shelter Scotland has received generous donations including £21,000 worth of designer dresses to its Dundee shop last month, £5,000 worth of men’s designer clothes which were donated in Aberdeen in January and a vintage Rolex watch which was valued at over £7,000 after being donated in a black bin bag in Edinburgh, in amongst brick-a-brac items.

Scottish comedian Kevin Bridges also donated the suit he wore to his first gig at the SECC – complete with handwritten notes and one-liners hidden in the inside jacket pocket.

The charity says that as well as donations, it urgently needs volunteers to help raise vital funds through its shops.