CHARITY shop staff are reeling in shock after £21,000 worth of luxury gowns were donated in a random act of kindness.
The Shelter shop in central Dundee usually sells vintage bric-a-brac and pocket-money knick knacks – the kind found in charity shops across Scotland.
But in a jaw-dropping act of generosity one local business owner has donated a staggering haul of designer dresses to the charity, which raises cash for the homeless.
The 60 brand new “posh” eveningwear pieces – some still price tagged at £400 apiece – are all from exclusive boutiques from across Europe and the US.
Now they are being sold off for the bargain-basement price of £30 each in a bid to get shoppers through the door, and raise the profile of the charity.
The dresses include numbers from French design house Faust, Penny of London and Koo-Ture – the brand worn by Coronation Street star Brooke Vincent.
The gowns – thought to be worth £21,300 – are now for sale at the Perth Road store, but nearly a quarter have already flown off shelves in the past two days alone.
Karen Kelbie has managed the Dundee Shelter Scotland shop for 20 years.
She said: “In my 20 years of managing the shop, I’ve never seen anything like it. We’re all still in shock.
“The dresses are just beautiful and perfect for anyone who has a formal occasion coming up – a wedding, a school prom or graduation ball.
“We are so grateful for this donation and it will make a big difference to Shelter Scotland’s work. The shop volunteers have worked tirelessly to get all of the gowns ready for sale and we excitedly look forward to welcoming people through the doors.”
John Sinclair – the area manager of Shelter for the region – said that the donation was the largest in the history of the charity.
He said: “Our supporters are really really generous – we do frequently get new goods and individual items of homeware and bric a brac.
“We love that and it’s a staple ware for charity shops – but it’s exceptional to get such a large collection of brand new stock like this.”
The dresses have only been on the shelves at the shop of a matter of days – but, he explained – they are expecting to sell out in the next few days as 17 of the 60 have already sold.
Explaining their bargain-basement price tags, he added: “We have an expectation that people will come into the shop and get a bargain.
“What we don’t want is stock just left sitting on the shelf. It’s really important that we raise as much money as we can.”
The donation was made by Prego Boutique – a lady’s fashion boutique in Broughton Ferry on the outskirts of Dundee.
Owner Liza Sinclair said that she chose to donate the items after hearing about Shelter Scotland’s work – and because she had become friendly with the staff after working nearby for years.
With 60 dresses and various other items of clothing to donate she was forced to make three journeys before she had dropped it all off.
She said: “Many of our staff and customers live very fortunate lives where we don’t have to think about where we’re going to sleep each night or if we’re going to lose the roof over our heads altogether.
“After hearing about the vital work of Shelter Scotland I was moved to do whatever I could to help those in need and a donation of some of our beautiful dresses to the Dundee shop made perfect sense.
“If by doing our little bit we can make a difference to even one person, then it’ll all be worth it.”
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “We are humbled that Liza and everyone at Prego Boutique thought of Shelter Scotland when making this generous donation.
“Every penny raised from the sales will go towards our fight to end homelessness and ensure that everyone has a safe, secure and affordable place to call home.”