Friday, 18 February 2011


MANAGER at the Cancer Research UK shop in Bridport, Pat Blake, was born in Fulham, London where she lived with her parents and five siblings. She attended the Fulham County Grammar school and later moved to Streatham when she started her own family. She moved to Bridport 22-years-ago.

Pat has worked in childcare for a number of years and worked at St Andrew’s Road Pre-School and then for the Pre-School Learning Alliance as a Pre-School Learning Development Worker.

In the past, Pat has also worked behind the bar at the Greyhound Hotel, before it became part of the Wetherspoons chain, which at the time was owned by her aunt and uncle.

Pat first worked for Cancer Research 12-years-ago as shop manager for Imperial Cancer Research Fund, which later merged with Cancer Research Campaign to become Cancer Research UK.

WHAT are your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy gardening, but never have enough time so it often ends up looking like a wilderness! I feel lucky that my four children all live locally as this means that I get to regularly spend time with my grandchildren, Lucas, Riley, Lola and Alfie.

WHAT do you like most about Bridport?
Community events like the carnival, late night shopping the charter fair and I thought the hat festival was great fun.

WHAT would you like to change?
I think it would be great if there was more parking for shoppers, with cheaper charges to encourage more people to support the unique range of independent shops within our town centre.

WHY did you choose to support Cancer Research UK?
It is something I feel very passionately about as one in three people will be affected by cancer at some time in their life and I firmly believe that the answer to reducing this lies in the research. CRUK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer

WHAT do you enjoy most about working in a charity shop?
The daily challenges such as constantly having to source good quality stock which in this economic climate is becoming more difficult. I like being an important cog in the process of goods being recycled, allowing people to make use of items they might otherwise discard.
I also love working with my amazing team of volunteers, within the team there is a wealth of experience from varied backgrounds all dedicated to the cause and giving freely their time.

HAVE you had any unusual donations?
A tourist from New Zealand once donated a week of her one-month holiday, volunteering in the shop.

CAN anybody volunteer?
Almost. You need to be aged 14 plus and enthusiastic. We have volunteers that are still at school (some working towards accreditation and some just because they enjoy it), parents whose children are at school, people wanting to keep their CV active, as well as people with more free time during their retirement. They come from a range of backgrounds and experience. Some people volunteer for two hours a week and some for two days. It can be a short term-commitment or a long-term one. Everyone has something to offer

AS A former youth volunteer, how do you think that Bridport could better support its young people?
I would like to see young people being recognised for the good they do. Lots of people are quick to condemn young people en masse for the actions of a small minority.

WHO would you like to play you in a movie of your life?
I really like Julie Walters’ sense of humour and I think she would play me well.

WHO would be your three dream guests to a dinner party?
Harpal Kumar – CEO of Cancer Research UK, I met him once briefly, and would love to get to know him better; Bridget Jones - I think she would provide a great element of fun; and I would also love to meet my great-great grandmother, to find out if there’s any truth to how it was better in the ‘good old days’.

WHAT was the last book you read, film you watched and CD you listened to?
The last book I read was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the last film I watched was The King’s Speech and the last CD I listened to was Jools Holland's Best of Friends. I am looking forward to seeing him in the summer.

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