The children’s charity Barnardo’s has revealed a list of the strangest items left by contributors to its stores, of which it has about 620 across the UK, as part of its Christmas donations appeal.
Staff and volunteers received donations including a scorpion preserved in a jar of formaldehyde in St Andrews, in Scotland, which has since been given to the local university, and a farmer’s lamb castrating tool donated in rural Kendal, Cumbria.
In Glasgow, a handbag was donated with a set of false teeth inside, while staff in Catterick, North Yorkshire, were delighted to receive a man’s coat until they discovered a slice of pizza inside.
Santa’s reindeer may have already enjoyed one donation in Wolverhampton, in the West Midlands, as it consisted simply of several ends of carrots, while one shop in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, received a bag of moss.
Chocolate gift boxes are always happily received, but a tin of crab meat with a best-before date of 2015 did not go down well in Pitlochry, Perthshire.
In one London store a contributor donated a set of four portraits of historical figures in matching frames – depicting fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula, and former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Staff in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, were cheered by a message that accompanied a pair of men’s sport shorts which read: “Wear these at your leisure, wear with pride and pleasure, and keep them safe to treasure. Geoff. X.”
Shopworkers in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, had an unwelcome surprise after being given a pot containing nine human molars and a bag of infant’s clothes containing a baby’s dried umbilical cord and belly clip.
Other bizarre body-related donations included a pelvic floor exerciser in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, a used pregnancy test kit in Glasgow, a packet of Viagra tablets in Rotherham, a “bottom-wiping tool” in Gravesend, Kent, a urethral catheter and urine bottle in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, a haemorrhoid cushion in Wolverhampton and even a used toilet brush in Colwyn Bay in Conwy, Wales.
Is not the first time Barnardo’s has received unusual deliveries, with previous quirky highlights including a dead bird in Glasgow and a hamster cage in Warrington, Cheshire, with a dead hamster inside.
Barnardo’s shared the weird donations as part of an appeal to encourage people to give their unwanted Christmas gifts to their local branch, where all profits will go towards helping vulnerable children and young people.
“Most of us have received Christmas presents that may be of good quality and cost a fair bit – but are just not suitable for ourselves,” said Roy Clark, managing director of Barnardo’s Trading Companies.
“So instead of putting them at the back of the drawer and forgetting about them, why not donate to your local Barnardo’s store?”