Survey reveals the weirdest and wackiest items donated to British charity shops

16 November 2017

A stuffed bison, a live hand grenade and hundreds of pairs of women’s tights are amongst the weird and wacky objects donated to British charity shops, a Charities Aid Foundation survey can reveal.

The survey was conducted ahead of this year’s #givingtuesday, which takes place on 28th November. An antidote to the Christmas sales, #givingtuesday encourages people to do good stuff for others. That could be donating money to charity, volunteering in your community, or something as simple as donating goods to a charity shop.

Charities including the RSPB, Barnardos. Marie Curie and the British Heart Foundation submitted items for the survey. 

Some of the more peculiar items include:

  • A stuffed adult bison, donated to Barnado’s
  • A funeral urn, containing ashes, donated to a branch of Marie Curie
  • A live hand grenade, donated to a Sense charity shop in South East London. The shop was evacuated and the device “made safe” by the emergency services
  • The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, along with edible nipple tassels and a whip, donated to a branch of Mind
  • A Christmas dinner, donated to Dog’s Trust. A supporter didn’t want their sponsored dog missing out at Christmas, so sent a full Christmas dinner, in a jiffy bag.
  • Hundreds of pairs of women’s tights, donated to an RSPB reserve. A warden requested 30 pairs to help stop a weed from invading the reserve’s ponds, but the charity was inundated after the local paper covered the story.
  • A full-sized passport photo booth, donated to Sue Ryder
  • A Mercedes-Benz C180 Elegance, donated to a branch of Tenovus Cancer Care, in Southampton
  • An antique purse carved in the shape of a samurai, donated to the British Heart Foundation’s eBay shop. The rare purse sold for £1154 in an online auction

Commenting on the results, Ben Russell, Director of Communications at the Charities Aid Foundation, said:

“Charity shops are the ultimate destination for those hoping to source an unusual Christmas gift. From stuffed mammals to your next ride, there really is no limit to what you might find whilst rooting for a bargain.

“Last year, more than 4.5 million people across the UK took part in #givingtuesday, and we hope that 2017 will be our biggest year yet. One way you can get involved is to donate some money to charity, and what better way than a visit to the local charity shop.”

For more information about #givingtuesday, or to request an interview, please contact the Charities Aid Foundation Press Office on: or call 03000 123 286


Notes to Editors

  1. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is one of the largest charitable foundations in Europe and amongst the largest providers of philanthropic products and services to charities, donors and companies worldwide.
  2. A global phenomenon, #givingtuesday has broken successive world records for the most money donated online to charity
  3. In 2016, over 1600 charities and organisations took part in #givingtuesday across the UK
  4. The campaign has been supported by prominent figures including: Stephen Fry, JK Rowling and Richard Branson
  5. In 2017, leading charities and brands are supporting the day including: RBS, Morrisons, The Dog’s Trust, Mastercard, Radley bags, Thomson Reuters and The National Lottery

Media contacts


01767 693517

Tenovus Cancer Care

029 2076 8789


0208 522 1743



British Heart Foundation

020 7554 0587

020 7554 0532

Sue Ryder

0207 554 5903 / 07773 200759

Marie Curie

0207599 7713


0207 014 9379

Dog’s Trust

0207 837 0006

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