A FARNHAM institution for the past four decades, The Downing Street Charity Shop, is to close its doors for good this Christmas having raised many thousands of pounds for good causes locally and further afield.

The shop was opened by Lady Beryl Tindle MBE in 1987 after her retirement from teaching, with the simple idea of supporting a different charity every time it raised £1,000 in second-hand sales.

Lady Tindle, 94, said: "I didn’t relish the idea of doing nothing in retirement, I wanted to do something useful.

"Thanks to the generosity of the Herald, the shop was opened 34 years ago during which time accommodation has been given rent-free and the staff have provided support and practical help with administration, equipment and day-to-day maintenance.

"Milne Eldridge Accountants in West Street have also given their services with accounts free of charge.

"The shop has been run entirely by volunteers who have given dedicated and enthusiastic help over many years, and I have enjoyed many years working in the shop, especially the companionship of staff.

"Very sincere thanks are due to them, especially to those who have kept the shop open recently in spite of difficult national conditions. But now at the age of 94, and unable to take an active part, I feel it is time to retire."

Lady Tindle also thanked "all the people involved, and the Herald" - as well as the shop’s "many interesting customers" - for helping raise so much.

She added: "I had no idea when I started that there were so many charities, and it was always very difficult to choose which to support. But I’m very pleased to have done something useful over so many years."