Mary Lancaster’s commitment to the Blue Cross - a charity that finds homes for unwanted cats, dogs, small pets and horses across the UK - isn’t in doubt. The Acton based grandmother has been running a stall - come rain, snow or shine - every single saturday at Acton market for the past five years. Mary’s stall has forged a reputation for “selling interesting knick knacks, jewellery, kitchenware, books, DVDs, CDs, clothing, toys and ornaments,” says Serena Cameron who has nominated Mary for the ‘Community Champion’ category of our Pride Awards.
Every penny that Mary and her family raise goes directly to the Blue Cross, “an incredible organisation that puts a tremendous amount of effort and care into looking after people's precious pets if they can't afford a private vet,” says Serena.
To date Mary has raised over “£20,000 for the Blue Cross” whose existence depends entirely on donations from the public and other charities. “At the moment I'm averaging about £200 on a Saturday,” says Mary. She continues: “But every bit helps and the Blue Cross is a charity not only for animals, but for people.” If the Blue Cross ceased to exist “a lot of people wouldn't have the companionship of an animal.”
Mary’s self effacing dedication to the Blue Cross - to which she has devoted a large portion of her life - is admirable. However as Serena stresses, Mary’s saturday stall has garnered a loyal fan-base as much for its likeable vendor as its charitable endeavours.
“Visiting Mary's Blue Cross stall and sharing a conversation with her on a saturday, has become a favourite pastime for so many of us,” shares Serena. “Mary welcomes everyone - regardless of their background - with a huge smile and is always ready with a laugh and joke. It’s very refreshing. Acton is fortunate to have this humble lady who cares so passionately about her customers and chosen charity.”