ALMOST every woman has a dozen handbags piled up in the bottom of their wardrobes collecting dust.

But now the Great Western Hospital has come up with the perfect solution to clearing out those cupboards in the form of a handbag amnesty.

The GWH is urging the women of Swindon to donate their bags to help raise money for the Brighter Futures Breast Cancer Appeal. The appeal aims to raise £75,000 to fund a year’s worth of intraoperative radiotherapy, a pioneering new treatment for breast cancer, set to make a difference to the lives of 150 women each year. Since the appeal was launched at the start of the year, £60,000 has been raised.

On November 1, a stall will appear near to Waterstones in the Brunel Centre, as well as a pop-up shop near Cargo, where hundreds of bags will be sold to support the appeal.

Priced from as little as £5, it is hoped the wide variety of clutch bags, shoppers, shoulder bags and more will raise approximately £2,500.

Organisers of the event have already been dealt their first setback after actress, presenter and former model Linda Lusardi pulled out of the launch event.

Linda was due to open the shop with daughter Lucy Kane, who is appearing in the Wyvern’s pantomime Dick Whittington this year.

Lesley Bayliss, event and community fundraiser at the GWH, said: “We are really disappointed but the Wyvern are hoping to arrange for somebody else to come along. It would be nice to have somebody to open it.

“We’ve been really pleased with the reaction from everybody so far, we’ve had over 150 bags already and we’ve got another 100 still to come in.

“There’s some really big names too – Fiorelli, Gucci, Cath Kidston. There’s something for everyone.

“Everyone has bags at home that they don’t want anymore – we’d love to receive them as everyone’s tastes are different.

“We launched it about two months ago and we’ve been really impressed with what we have received – our office is full of bags.”

Anyone wishing to donate bags can drop them off at reception at the Great Western Hospital, the Blunsdon House Hotel, or alternatively, collections can be arranged by calling 01793 605631 or email

The shop will be open from 1.30pm to 6.30pm on November 1.