Retail expert helps charity

Sylvia Smith pictured with Debra manager Tina Capper.  Picture: Marie Caley D3226MC
Sylvia Smith pictured with Debra manager Tina Capper. Picture: Marie Caley D3226MC

QUEEN of retail Sylvia Smith is using her 46 years of industry expertise to help a Doncaster charity shop sparkle.

Sylvia, who closed her self-titled jewellery and accessory shop on East Laith Gate in 2010, has come out of retirement to help DebRA - a charity for people with skin blistering condition epidermolysis bullosa.

Sylvia, of Ardeen Road, Intake, has donated jewellery to DebRA’s Sandringham Road shop and is passing on her pearls of wisdom in a bid to boost sales.

Sylvia said: “It’s such a good cause you can’t even begin to imagine the pain these people must go through.

“I used to go to the shop and have donated various things over the years and I thought with my experience in the retail industry I would be able to offer my services.

“I have donated some beautiful jewellery and have had lots of support from suppliers, market traders and shops in Doncaster who I have met during my career.”

With an eye for style and shop design Sylvia is helping the charity shop transform.

Lesley Croft, assistant manager of the DebRA charity shop in Doncaster, said: “Sylvia is such a lovely lady and she has done so much for us.

“It’s a great help because she has had over 40 years experience in the industry so she is passing on her knowledge.

“We have noticed a big difference since Sylvia got on board and we want to appeal to others out there for donations to the shop.

““We are grateful for any donations and encourage our customers to fill in a gift aid form when they donate items which costs them nothing but means we can claim the tax back.

“Last year alone the charity raised £1.1m just through gift aid.”

Sylvia’s latest mission is to find some glass display cabinets for the shop to show off the jewellery in all its glory.

She said: “I have a vision of what it will look like and some glass cabinets would really help to give the shop a lift, if anyone can help us out with any we would love to hear from them.”

If anyone is able to help with glass cabinets contact regional fundraising manager Tony Eckersall on 0161 286 5340 or e-mail The DebRA shop in Sandringham Road, Intake is open Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm. To find out more visit