Our new Shrewsbury shop has officially opened its doors with BBC Radio Shropshire presenter and annual panto star Eric Smith cutting the ribbon, helped by our very own Poppy.

The shop is located on Oteley Road next to the Percy Throwers Garden Centre, where a small and socially distanced crowd, gathered to celebrate its opening.

“I was there at the opening of the Oswestry and the Bridgnorth shops, and it’s an honour to be here to open this fantastic looking Shrewsbury shop,” said Eric.

“Hope House is an incredibly important charity which does vital work caring for children with life-threatening conditions and their families, and it needs the support and generosity of the community to make sure it can keep providing this service year in, year out.

 “The shops are an important part of this, and I would encourage people to come down and take a look at some of the amazing items they have on sale.”

Eric was joined at the opening by Poppy alongside her parents Vicki and Karl Evans, and her sister Lyla.

They have been using Hope House for the last eight years after Poppy, a pupil at Severndale Academy in Shrewsbury, was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome just before her fifth birthday - a rare condition that causes life-threatening seizures.

The family is also featured on a huge billboard alongside the new shop, which Poppy was delighted to see.

Mr Evans said: “Poppy loves Hope House and we can relax knowing she is safe and having a great time.

“We also get to spend quality time with our younger daughter Lyla, doing the things she enjoys but Poppy can’t do such as going out for a meal or to the cinema.

“It’s like having an extra member of the family who we can turn to, who knows exactly what our lives are like and how to help. We know if we hit a crisis they will be there – we are not alone. Life would certainly be a lot tougher without Hope House.”

The shop will open will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays between 10am and 4pm initially.

The shop’s new manager Samantha Robbins said: “We have been working on the unit for a number of months now, and a lot of hard work has been done by staff and volunteers, especially under the difficult circumstances regarding Covid-19.

“It’s great to see it finally come together, the shop looks truly amazing, and we can’t wait to welcome more customers and help support the hospices.”

Along with Hope House’s 13 other stores, new Coivd-19 working practices have been introduced to keep customers and staff safe, including social distancing rules, hand sanitising stations at shop entrances and contactless payment.

Donations of stock can be taken to the Oteley Road shop during it opening hours, although Head of Retail Angela Whelan is asking people not to leave donations on the street and to phone before travelling because space for isolating donated stock at the store for the required 72 hours is limited. You can call the team on 01743 246 213.