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Thousands raised in memory of charity shop volunteer

Christine Smith, 69, was a volunteer in the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland boutique in Erskine for two years. After her sudden death from a stroke, her family set up a JustGiving page in her memory to raise funds for the charity - which so far has raised over £7,000.

Christine had been a volunteer in the charity’s Erskine boutique for two years before she passed away suddenly from a stroke on November 7 at the age of 69.

Her sons, Murray and Craig, along with her husband John, were overwhelmed with goodwill messages from around the world and decided to set up a JustGiving page that would allow friends to mark Christine’s unexpected passing in a positive way.

"Mum was a very selfless and caring person, and when she retired, she was looking for the right opportunity for volunteering. She prided herself on her style and was always dressed very smartly, so when the opportunity arose at the boutique, it was the perfect match," explains Murray.

"She was a very bubbly, very positive person – she was always smiling. And she loved her time volunteering. She took real pride in being part of the charity and working in the shop. It meant so much to her and it meant a lot to us to see how much other people thought of her, too."

Christine had suddenly collapsed at home earlier this month. She was fit and healthy and there was no warning of what was to come. She spent six days in hospital before she suffered a second stroke. Her sons, who both live in the USA, had flown to Scotland to be with their mum.

When friends and colleagues in the States asked what they could do for the family, they decided a JustGiving page in Christine’s memory that would benefit Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland would be the ideal gesture. In just a few short weeks, the page has raised more than £7,000.

"Mum had felt a connection to Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland because her own father had also had a stroke," adds Murray.

"Her stroke itself came right out of the blue. The doctors said it was like mum being hit by lightning, and there was nothing she could have done to prevent it.

"There were no airs and graces about mum. She just liked to be around good people, and around family and friends. We will all miss her so much."

Morven Gigli, Shop Manager at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Erskine shop, says: "Christine was such a lovely person and a joy to work with. She spent 20 hours a week volunteering in the shop with us and she was so dedicated and would go above and beyond every day.

"Christine was such a big part of the shop, everyone in the shop loved her, from the customers to the whole team, and she will be so, so missed."

Jane-Claire Judson, Chief Executive at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, adds: "On behalf of everyone at the charity, we want to send our deepest condolences to Christine’s friends and family at this difficult time.

"Christine dedicated her time to volunteering in our shop to help other people and their families who have been devastated by stroke. We are so thankful for the support that Christine provided to the charity and the difference that she made in her community.

"The impact that Christine had on people’s lives is clear from the generous outpouring from friends, family and the community. We want to say a heartfelt thank you to her family for doing something so amazing in Christine’s memory at such a difficult time."

If you’d like to show your support to the family and donate to Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland in memory of Christine Smith, please visit the family’s JustGiving page.

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