Shining a light on volunteer success

We are putting the spotlight on two volunteers Tracey and Shelley who are unsung heroes of the eBay world. They have gone above and beyond to get our surplus tools into the hands of enthusiasts.

From their first 2011 toe dipping activity in eBay where they sold a broken Tiger Moth compass for £10, they have raised a whopping £36,233 for Tools for Self Reliance. Over the last twelve years they have racked up sales of 3942 items on eBay. We are truly grateful for their support, hard work and endless enthusiasm.

To put Shelly and Tracey’s fundraising into perspective, our training projects typically cost between £10-50k to deliver – depending on the trades being taught and how many participants there are – which shows just how much of an impact these funds have.


The weird and wonderful

They have sold many practical, and weird and wonderful items. These included.

  • Oil stones – anything from £3.99 to £202 for an Escher Razor Hone.
  • Tins – from tobacco tins for 99p to £165 for a Lockheed Hydraulic Braking System fluid tin.
  • Craft fabrics – i.e. embroidery, tapestry, knitting ranging from 99p to £190.
  • A bag of old nylon dolls hair….apparently the weirdest item they have sold!

The largest amount raised in one go was £975 for a vintage Special Operations Executive multi-function knife that had been found in the bottom of a skip by the Castle Cary group. After appearing on the Antiques Road Show, the knife was passed on to Tracey and Shelley who were able to hold a private auction to sell this.

Their best sale year was £4,662 during 2020, while everyone was in lockdown and looking for hobbies – with large chunk of sales being for fabric crafts.

Rolling their sleeves up

Tracey and Shelly as coordinate the charity presence at the annual Bodgers Ball events, ensuring our stall is staffed, fully stocked and attractive – they even keep the stock their houses in the run up to the event!

To gather up the stock and supply tools to supporters, Tracey and Shelley not only spend time pricing, posting, packaging, and sending items, but also significant time travelling to Netley Marsh HQ to collect stock, and to a number of our Volunteer Groups around the UK.

As such thanks go to our Volunteer Groups in Holt, Castle Cary, Bristol, Sutton, Didsbury, Baildon, Cambridge, Bakewell and anyone else who has helped – including Netley Marsh volunteers Bob White and Roy and Jenny Barnard for sorting items for them.

Thanks again Shelley and Tracey!

If you are inspired by Tracey and Shelley and would like to get involved in our volunteering programme, please take a look at our volunteering page here.

You can also contact Ben Riley, our Volunteer Coordinator to find out more.

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