Cromer Pier’s Claude the Crab is to put his pincers to good use and help snip the ribbon at the opening of the town’s new East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) shop.

EACH will open the doors of the former Barclays bank, at the corner of Tucker Street and Jetty Street, at 10am next Thursday (30 May). The interior is undergoing quite a transformation, with Barclays generously funding large parts of the work as part of its departure. Among other changes, the customer interview rooms are being turned into a menswear department and the bank manager’s office into a dedicated children’s room.

Claude will be on hand to herald the building’s new era. Deb Lewis, Cromer Pier Box Office & Retail Manager, said: “We’re absolutely delighted Claude was invited to open the shop for such a worthy charity and we wish EACH every success for the future.”

The shop will trade seven days a week, offering the same range of high-quality goods customers of EACH’s 14 other Norfolk shops are used to.

Laura Mackay, who has been at the helm of the successful EACH shop in Fakenham, will be taking over in Cromer and is looking forward to helping make it a real part of the community.

She said: “Firstly, we’re really pleased Claude will be coming along to help open the shop. It should make for a very fun aspect to the day and, with it being half-term, a lovely opportunity for children and families to say hello and take photos.

“Going forward, EACH shops have a proven record when it comes to profitability, with a national survey of 71 charities ranking us firmly in the top 15. This has been achieved by the shops being well-presented, with a range of stock, great staff and volunteers – and there will be no exception here! Please do come along to celebrate our opening, see what bargains you can find and help us provide vital care for children with life-threatening conditions across Norfolk and the rest of East Anglia, as well as support for their families.”

EACH currently offers care to 127 children and young people in Norfolk, as well as support to 168 family members, and the same service to hundreds more across Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and North Essex. It needs to raise £16,800 a day to run the service.

In the past financial year, the charity’s shops generated an impressive profit of over £1.1 million. It opened nine new outlets in 2018 and this latest one in Cromer will be its third of 2019, and 38th overall.

EACH welcomes donations of the following clean and good-quality goods: clothing, bric-a-brac, modern paperbacks, toys, jewellery, DVDs/CDs, household linens, retro and vintage clothes, and small electrical items. These can be dropped off at the new shop from Monday (27 May).

EACH also needs donations of good-quality furniture and can collect it free of charge if you are unable to transport it yourself. Call 01842 821620 for more information.

To put into context the difference just a small donation to a shop can make to the vital work EACH does, here are some examples of what your donation could pay for:

–         A top, skirt or pair of trousers worth £5 could pay for art supplies for a session of art therapy

–         A tea set worth £11 could fund an hour of specialist play tailored to a child’s individual needs

–         A nice wedding hat or jacket worth £19 could pay for an hour of vital physiotherapy

–         An item of good-quality furniture or prom dress worth £24 could fund an hour with a psychologist to help guide and support families going through, likely, the toughest period of their lives

Anyone interested in more information on volunteering at the new shop can drop by now or email volunteerservices@each.org.uk.