THE charity set up in the name of brave teenager Josie Grove is expanding its shop into a prime town centre location.
Josie, from Corbridge in Northumberland, died in February 2007 aged 16 after turning down leukaemia treatment to get the best out of her final days.
Since then, Josie’s Dragonfly Trust, set up in her name by parents Jacqui and Cliff, has handed out almost 500 cash gifts of £500 to terminally-ill children across the country.
The Trust office and shop on Hallstile Bank in Hexham has operated well down the years but has always been on the fringes of the town.
Now the shop is to be moved to a site on Fore Street, Hexham, where many more people will see it, while the office remains in the same place.
The Trust’s head of fundraising Jane Dennison said: “The lease is coming up on the Hallstile Bank shop site, and Jacqui thought it was a really good opportunity, just the right time, to move up there.
“The old shop is lovely, and has a lot of attachment for us, but it is on the edge of the town and a lot of people don’t even know we are there.
“In Fore Street, there is a much greater footfall and we are confident we will get even more business when we open there.”
The Trust is taking over the former ice cream parlour at No 14, and using the full three-storey building to develop and expand.
The shop will continue to sell the dragonfly emblems and jewellery that Josie loved so dearly.
Now it is hoped they will open the doors on February 26 – the eve of the sixth anniversary of Josie’s death.
Although Jacqui and Cliff have a jewellery factory in Thailand, where Josie was brought up as a young child, they are in the process of buying a permanent new home in Humshaugh village, near Hexham.
The couple, who have a two sons aged 20 and six, and a 17-year-old daughter, will be able to take a more hands-on approach with the Trust, which employs one full-time and one part-time member of staff.
It also benefits from free help, and Jane added: “Tradespeople are coming forward as volunteers to help us with the move, which is great.
“Anyone who can paint or scrape walls will be welcome, as the new shop is an empty shell at the moment.
“We are hoping to open by February 26, but we won’t hurry it. The most important thing is to recreate the lovely feel of the current shop. Jacqui’s nature is such that if these things are meant to be, then they are meant to be.”