Killyleagh Charity Shop Volunteer Receives BEM

Killyleagh Charity Shop Volunteer Myrtle McIlveen Awarded BEM In New Year's Honours List

Killyleagh Charity Shop Volunteer Myrtle McIlveen Awarded BEM In New Year’s Honours List

A volunteer at the the Killyleagh Community Charity Shop has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List 2024.

Helga Nixon, a manager at Killyleagh Community Shop was delighted at Myrtle McIlveen receiving the award and added: “Myrtle has been a volunteer for 20 years providing a service to our charity shop in Killyleagh.

“And she continues to work now as a volunteer and has stepped back from a management role.

“Over the years Myrtle was very active in charity fundraising to support local causes, and those in need in Northern Ireland and across the world.

“She has been a great role model for us all working hard in her almost 20 years service to the charity.

Myrtle McIlveen BEM with her husband are still involved in the charity shop but only for a few hours a week.

“We sell donated clothing, toys, bric-a-brac, household items… basically anything that can help raise funds for our charity. And items that do not sell are recylcled.

“We have 14 volunteers at the moment and are still looking to recruit more. We are basically self-funded, and all the profit we make is donated to the various charities.

“For example, we gave out free lunch vouchers to local school children to ensure that they were being fed properly over the school holidays.

“And we do also make donations to the Fountain Foodbank in Downpatrick. We are affiliated to the Presbyterian Church.”

Myrtle McIlveen BEM said: “I am honoured, absolutely over the moon and also totally surprised. I had been volunteer manager for almost 18 years and the volunteers are the lifeblood of the charity shop.

“I see this award too as a recognition to all of the volunteers for their great community spirit over the years.

The Killyleagh Community Charity Shop.

“My husband and I helped expand the charity shop. It has been hard work keeping on top it all but I’m delighted to say apart from basic lighting and rent, every penny has gone to charitable causes.

“The shop was originally set up by Muriel Stringer who ran it for a year then we became involved and then as it grew it eventually became affiliated to the Presbyterian Church which is well networked in its charity work across Northern Ireland and supporting causes both nationally and internationally.

“I’ve basically gone into partial retirement doing just a half day shift a week. It’s difficult to just step back from it all after all these years. I’m still very attached to the shop and the volunteers.

“I think the charity shop will prosper in the future as it has a good location on Catherine Street and it has a good team of volunteers. We are always looking for new volunteers and any items that people want to donate.

“We are looking forward now to the awards ceremony early in 2024.”