Card-sharp dolphins save the day

Hello Dolly (and Dillon): dolphins and the Town Crier draw customers to the charity card shop

Dolphins in the High Street? Well, yes – and, to the gentleman talking to John Izod outside Grammar School Records who had just enjoyed a full English to calm his hangover and couldn’t believe his eyes: no, they were not a delayed reaction to your over indulgence the night before!

Dolly and Dillon swam to the rescue when the Salvation Army band called in sick. The charity Christmas card shop at Rye Community Centre had planned a coffee morning with homemade cakes and some rousing music from the band. The coffee was there – and far too many cakes – but the band had no puff to play the trumpet or to sing and had to cancel.

So Dolly and Dillon joined Rex Swain, the Town Crier, as he swung his bell up Hilder’s Cliff and down the High Street, shaking people out of their shopping stupor. And it worked. As one customer in the crowded card shop commented: the town is empty – everyone is in here!

The dolphins belong to The Oliver Curd Trust. Oli, who was terminally ill with cancer and died when he was just nine, had a dream to swim with dolphins – and he did. So Dillon became the mascot for the charity and then Dolly caught his eye and they are now a couple. Christmas cards supporting the trust are on sale at the charity card shop along with cards from more than 35 other groups, including our local Memorial Hospital, the Romney Marsh churches and The Music Well.

Thanks to Dolly, Dillon, our Town Crier and the volunteers working in the shop and kitchen on Saturday, takings were three times what they were on the same day last year. Plans for a repeat performance next year with added attractions – but fewer cakes – are already underway.

The card shop is open at the Community Centre on Conduit Hill Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-4pm, until December 19. The cakes have gone but there are plenty of cards.

Jane Nunn is co-manager at the Cards for Good Causes shop / Photos: Tony Nunn