Charity shop shock as former PM drops off bear essentials

AT FIRST glance the boxes of toys, a worn coffee table and a smattering of teddy bears are what you might expect to find in any charity shop.

But these items donated to a city-based homeless charity have a certain pedigree – having been donated by a former world leader.

Staff at the Bethany Christian Trust shop were stunned when three "suited and booted" men arrived with former prime minister Gordon Brown's belongings from Number 10 Downing Street.

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A range of books and household items were among the seven-box haul of donations, including ceramic mixing bowls, toy trucks and a teddy bear reading "I love GB".

The boxes the items were delivered in were labelled "Gordon" and "Fraser" – his young son – in scribbled pen.

The charity is still deciding how exactly to market the goods, torn between distributing them around shops in Edinburgh and Fife branded as the PM's former belongings or simply selling them alongside the rest of the stock anonymously.

Already a toy supermarket trolley has been sold for 2, while the initialled bear – which looked like it had enjoyed better days – was eagerly snapped up by one passer-by for 3.

The scratched wooden coffee table – the most intriguing item of the lot – was available for only 10.

Shop manager Pip Suggett, 62, who has worked in the shop since it opened three years ago, said: "We couldn't believe it when these three men all came in suited and booted.

"They had seven boxes and said who they were as they came in, I was so excited I didn't even see how they arrived or anything.

"Gordon Brown opened this shop three years ago and took time to speak to every one of the 50 people who were here.

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"He told me then he would be back and that he would do everything he possibly could to help us. He's come good on his promise.

"All the stuff is in really nice condition and it's quite touching to see some of the items he's given us."

The delivery was made to the Kirkcaldy shop at around 4:30pm on Wednesday.

Mr Brown already has an affiliation with the Edinburgh-based charity, which helps homeless people in the Capital, for buying their Caring Christmas Trees for his home and constituency office every year.

And while Sarah Brown's predecessor in Downing Street, Cherie Blair, may have preferred to famously sell her unwanted items on auction website Ebay, the Browns preferred to be more charitable.

Further evidence of their home life was in the collection, including two Delia Smith recipe books, five wine glasses and older teddy bears which looked like they may have belonged to a young Gordon Brown and been passed down.

Assistant manager of the shop Andrew Farley added: "Three guys came in and one leant over the counter to say he was bringing in some stuff from Number 10.

"We're due to head out to the constituency office to pick up a few boxes of books as well."

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