A NEW charity shop has opened in Byfleet in aid of the Matthew Hackney Foundation, which supports the mental wellbeing of children and young people locally.

Pretty and Preloved caters for a gap in the market with good-quality clothing, accessories and bric-a-brac at attractive prices.

The charity, based in the village, was set up in memory of 12-year-old Matthew, who died some 10 years ago.

He had to have various medical treatments for most of his life and was enthusiastic in raising money for charities, including Great Ormond Street Hospital. His parents, Penny and Richard, set up the foundation in his memory.

The foundation has grown significantly during the pandemic and now offers a funded counselling service in 22 local surrey schools.

“We want our shop to be different and have created a beautiful boutique atmosphere with a friendly, welcoming environment,” Penny said. 

“People seem to love it, many of them saying it doesn’t look or feel like the usual charity shop.  We have worked hard to make it feel like a boutique. 

“We have had a constant stream of customers coming in for a browse, both regulars and new customers, so it seems to be going down well.”

The shop was opened by Father Christmas and the village’s ward councillor Amanda Boote. “It was an honour,” Amanda said. “The Matthew Hackney Foundation is a truly fantastic charity and it is wonderful to see them now having a permanent home so that they can grow and continue the amazing work that they have been doing in our community.

“I was really thrilled to be the shop’s first customer and I came home with some lovely vintage bits and pieces. I can’t wait to pay them another visit. I would urge everyone to pop in and to show your support for such a great cause.

“Penny and her team have worked tirelessly to raise funds to support our children and young people with their mental health.’’

With fundraising hit hard by the pandemic, the charity diversified its fundraising activities, opening pop-up shops to sell donated items.  

This became so successful the natural path was a permanent outlet. “The premises also have rooms above, which we will be using for the charity’s counsellors and also as a base for the charity,” Penny added.

All profits from the shop go to the charity.

“We operate as sustainably as possible. Unusable clothing is passed on or recycled to third-world countries; fabrics are sent to local dogs’ homes for recycling as pet bedding; the shop runs off renewable energy and Richard is changing the shop lighting to be the best possible for the environment,” Penny said.

The charity also raised more than £5,000 from its 10th anniversary annual winter ball attended by about 120 guests last Saturday evening at Surrey National Golf Club, in Chaldon. 

* Pretty and Preloved, 21 High Road, Byfleet.  Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm(subject to change). Thursdays 11am to 7pm. For more information, visit www.prettyandpreloved.co.uk, and Twitter and Instagram.

* For more information on the charity or to donate, visit thematthewhackneyfoundation.co.uk or email [email protected].