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Thu 20 Apr 2023

Sian's Story

Being a shop volunteer with Tenovus Cancer Care isn’t all about trawling through bin bags and stacking shelves.
Time spent in our shops can develop a new skill, increase confidence, or bring out a hidden creative side.

All that glitters is not gold for volunteer Sian, 58, who is known for spotting a quality jewellery item or two at our shop in Rhiwbina, Cardiff. 

In fact, when a pair of pocket watch chains were donated,  she knew immediately they were worth something. They later fetched hundreds at auction.

“I could see they were hallmarked, and antique.
I could tell they were quality items, said Sian.
“The chains, one silver and one gold, went up for auction and raised around £600 for Tenovus Cancer Care.”

Sian, a retired lawyer, manages the jewellery shelves of the shop. Not only does she make the shelves sparkle, but she’s built a rapport with several City jewellers, to help her research and make valuations if required.

“I have always loved jewellery – and my mum was  obsessed – so it’s the right volunteering role for me.
I enjoy the research side, going online and looking up donated items, for their history and their worth.

I can also be creative in this role.  I had never created a shop display before - so putting all the colours together, and arranging the jewellery so it is eye-catching, is something new which I enjoy.

People donate all kinds of attractive jewellery to the shop, and you can tell some have been sentimental too. There was a jewellery box donated the other day full of old items tangled up. I sorted through it, untying the chains, to see what was good to put on our shelves.”

Sian started volunteering at the shop after a close relative was diagnosed with cancer three years ago.

Jewellery has become an income spinner for the shop, with the amount raised more than doubling year-on-year. Items for sale recently include a vintage gold tone Givenchy choker necklace, a vintage Ermani Bulatti brass mother of pearl necklace, and a 9-carat white gold amethyst, peridot, and blue topaz necklace.

Sian explains: “I wanted to do something different and push myself out of my comfort zone after years’ doing something else. Volunteering for Tenovus Cancer Care in a shop could not be more different to being a lawyer.

At first, I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of working behind the till, but my confidence developed, and I am used to it now - the staff and volunteers have been great. 

If you have a special occasion coming up, or just want a bit of retail therapy, why not pop in, and have a look. You never know what you might discover.


If you would like to volunteer with us, find out more here.

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010