A dedicated pensioner from Sudbury, Alex Mitchell, has celebrated 25 years of volunteering at the PDSA charity shop on North Street.

Since the shop opened in May 1999, Alex, now 88, has been a constant presence, supporting the charity’s mission to help pets in need.

Alex, a cat owner, has always been passionate about animal welfare. “I volunteer at PDSA because I like the charity and what it stands for,” she said. “As a cat owner myself, I like to do what I can for pets in need. Sudbury is a lovely shop, with a friendly team and customers. I’ve worked all my life and find volunteering has helped keep my brain going since retiring.”

Before moving to Sudbury, Alex lived in London and worked for the renowned jewellers Cameo Corner, serving high-profile customers such as Elizabeth Taylor and Mick Jagger. At PDSA, she enjoys working on the tills and interacting with customers, though she notes with a smile, “We haven’t had Mick Jagger in yet!”

Celebrating a Milestone

In recognition of her 25 years of service, the Sudbury PDSA team presented Alex with a cat ornament, a voucher for a local cat café, and some flowers. Leanne McGeachin, the Shop Manager at Sudbury PDSA, praised Alex’s dedication: “Alex is an absolute star, she has a beaming smile and such a passion for life. We are so lucky to have her as part of the Sudbury team. Her 25 years as a volunteer at our Sudbury shop is a truly amazing achievement.”

Aside from her volunteer work, Alex has always been active, particularly through dancing. In her younger days, she was a flamenco dancer and met her husband, a flamenco guitarist, through this shared passion. She continues to keep fit by attending a circle dancing group and until recently participated in a Russian, Polish, and Hungarian folk dance group.

Supporting PDSA’s Mission

The Sudbury PDSA shop, one of over 120 PDSA shops in the UK, plays a crucial role in funding the charity’s 49 Pet Hospitals. These hospitals provide essential veterinary care to pets whose owners might otherwise struggle to afford treatment.

PDSA’s CEO, on behalf of everyone at the organisation, expressed gratitude for Alex’s unwavering commitment and the significant contribution she has made over the past 25 years. “Our volunteers mean the world to us, and Alex’s enormous contribution to the smooth running of our Sudbury shop has helped its continued success.”

Alex encourages others to consider volunteering. “To anyone thinking about volunteering at their local PDSA charity shop, I’d say do it, it’s a good cause and a friendly environment.” Her dedication and passion serve as an inspiring example of how volunteers can make a meaningful impact in their communities.

The Role of Volunteers in PDSA

PDSA has over 2,800 dedicated volunteers across the UK, with Alex being one of just 24 volunteers who have served more than 25 years. The charity relies on the support of its volunteers to continue providing vital services to pets and their owners.

By celebrating milestones like Alex’s 25 years of service, PDSA highlights the importance of volunteer contributions and the positive impact they have on the organisation’s ability to fulfil its mission. Volunteers like Alex are essential to the success and sustainability of PDSA’s efforts in providing affordable veterinary care to those in need.