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Marie gives back to Purple House after charity helped her husband


Marie Holt Purple House. Marie Holt outside the Purple House shop on Bray Main Street

Marie Holt Purple House. Marie Holt outside the Purple House shop on Bray Main Street

Marie Holt Purple House. Marie Holt outside the Purple House shop on Bray Main Street


When Marie Holt’s husband Joe died, she needed a purpose and wanted to give back to the charity that supported him so diligently in his final years. So she began volunteering in the Purple House Cancer Support Centre shop in Bray.

Every week, Marie can be found in the shop working the cash register, sorting the donations, and providing customers with a homely welcome whenever they walk in the door. It’s a job she loves for so many reasons, not least for what Purple House did for Joe.

Purple House Cancer Support was recommended to Marie and Joe by their local GP, with Marie making the first visit. Purple House provided Joe with a place to chat to volunteers, as well as therapy and a place for both Joe and Marie to visit, giving Joe solace during his final years which Marie has nothing but praise for.

 “They’re just brilliant," she said.  “You say anything to them and they’ll listen. They are great listeners.”

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Marie began volunteering with Purple House after she finished working in a local shop in 2016. She had a chance encounter with the charity’s founder Veronica O’Leary and became aware that the charity was looking for people to help in their shop.

She says she has enjoyed her time volunteering for Purple House and is full of praise for the work they do for Bray and the greater Wicklow and South Dublin areas and has likened the people in the Purple House to a “family".

”I’m just full of praise for it,” she said. “It’s a great asset to Bray and surrounding areas, it covers a long list of counties now, I don’t think there’s anything like it on the south side of Dublin. It’s very much like a family!”

The social aspect of Marie’s volunteering is one she appreciates the most, being able to meet new people, while providing a valuable service to the community. It has opened an outlet to Marie for those four hours a week in the shop, as well as staying connected with those who helped her and Joe.

She explained: “You’re meeting people, also you’re helping Purple House, you’re meeting other staff and getting to know them too, it’s a win-win!”

Although the circumstances of Marie’s involvement with Purple House were originally those of woe and uncertainty, the decision to volunteer in their charity shop shines a new light of opportunity and a chance to give back.

Purple House Cancer Support Centre is always on the lookout for volunteers, and according to Marie, getting involved is as simple as giving them a call. Purple House can work around suitable hours for all volunteers, and they are always grateful for the support and outreach of the local community.

Purple House provides essential care to those affected by cancer in the greater Wicklow area. Without the hard work of volunteers such as Marie, this service would not be possible, so be sure to pay Marie a visit in the Purple House Charity Shop this National Volunteering Week and donate to the charity via their website.