A famous Eastender greeted thousands of bargain hunters at St. Joseph’s Hospice Christmas bazaar in Hackney at the weekend.
The diminutive Barbara Windsor – who only recently retired from her role as landlady Peggy Mitchell on the BBC soap – braved the November cold to sign autographs and pose for photos, before being taken on a tour of England’s oldest hospice.
“Barbara Windsor has supported the hospice for years,” said Michael Kerin, chief executive of St. Joseph’s. “She’s from down the road so she’s very proud to be a part of it.”
As locals thronged to the jumble sale and bazaar, executives at the hospice were confident that the event would raise “in excess of £20,000.”
The hospice costs £12 million to run annually and only £7 million of that comes from the NHS. The rest is earned through donations and fundraising, which is why events like the bazaar are crucial.
“People do all sorts of things to raise money for us – jump out of planes, host cake sales,” said Mr. Kerin. “Politicians talk about the Big Society and here it is, happening in Hackney.”
Police Community Support Officers were at the bazaar to ensure that events went off without a hitch.
“A lot of thefts occur unfortunately,” said PCSO Kam Ahmed, 31. “Things can go missing at the jumble sale so we keep an eye on that.”
“But it’s a great way of introducing ourselves to the community too,” added his colleague Paris Smith, 20.
Linda Hardy, from Queensbridge Road, attends the bazaar every year.
“My dad got his end-of-life care here in 1983 so I always support it,” said the 58-year-old. “It’s a great place to pick up a bargain. And it was nice to see Barbara Windsor. She’s so lovely and so tiny.”
Visit the website to find out how you can help St. Joseph’s Hospice.