Among the dusty bookshelves of a charity shop back room in Chorley, Lancashire, you will find student Hannah Clarke whiling away the hours, mining for literary treasure.
Hannah, 38, of Adlington, is Derian House Children’s Hospice’s first ever volunteer book sorter – and she has already proven she’s worth her weight in gold having made some incredible finds.
York University student Hannah hit the jackpot when she discovered a first edition of one of J. R. R. Tolkien’s earliest tales of Middle-earth – ‘Beren and Lúthien’ – that sold on the charity’s eBay store for almost £50.
She has also sold numerous books that would have sold for just pennies in the charity shops – including a first edition of John le Carre’s ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ for £15, and a 1977 copy of Tolkien’s ‘The Silmarillion’ with a perfectly preserved map for £20.
Hannah also found a signed copy of 50’s Bolton Wanderers player Nat Lofthouse’s biography ‘Goals Galore’ and a rare 1970s ‘Hiker’s Book of Rivington’ which both sold for £10.
Hannah joins Derian House’s troupe of kind-hearted volunteers, who last year saved the charity over £120,000 in wages by generously offering their time and expertise.
“I was beginning to get a bit fed-up stuck in the house all day studying.” Said Hannah, who is studying for a Master’s degree in Computer Science. “I decided I needed something to get me out of the house, meeting people, and doing something useful!
“When I saw the advert for a volunteer book sorter I jumped at the chance! It looked like the perfect role for me, and though I was a bit worried Derian was looking for a professional with book selling experience, it turned out I knew enough to get started.
“I’ve got a couple of signed-by-the-author books waiting to be listed which I’m hoping will attract some interest – so make sure to keep a look out!
“I love volunteering. The team is fantastic, really friendly and welcoming, and they settled me in quickly. I love working with books too. I would say to anyone that is lonely, or bored, or just wants to do some good – volunteer with Derian House!”
Derian House has a number of volunteer roles available, from helping out in the charity shops, supporting with events, and even gardening!
Frances Lees, Volunteer Services Coordinator at Derian House, said: “Hannah certainly knows what she’s ‘Tolkien’ about and she is absolutely right that you don’t need to be an expert to volunteer at Derian House.
“There are so many good things about volunteering – it’s a great way to make new friends, learn something new, and do something for a good cause. It will cost £6million to run services at Derian House this year, and so our volunteers are vital and make an incredible difference to our families – we simply couldn’t do without them!”
Derian House, based in Chorley, cares for more than 400 babies, children, young people and their families from across the North West and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To find out more about volunteering, contact: email@example.com