George Young

Senior Media Relations Officer

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16 November 2018

A prosthetic leg, a sheep’s head and a live ferret. These are just some of the weird donations received down the years by charities around the UK, sent to either their offices or charity shops.

That’s according to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), who commissioned the research ahead of Giving Tuesday on 27th November. Giving Tuesday is the international day to do good for charity, with people across the globe encouraged to support a good cause in any way possible. Celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Emma Watson and Wayne Rooney have all publicly supported the campaign.

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When asked to reveal the craziest items they’ve received as donations, CAF’s charity partners didn’t disappoint. Examples include:

  • A large, raw fish in a plastic bag (Waging Peace)
  • The funds raised from an eBay auction that featured Elton John’s black leather, knee high, signed platform boots (Amnesty International)
  • A commemorative bottle of whisky to celebrate the royal wedding of Charles and Diana and £73 in old sixpences (Age UK)
  • A huge pair of “doggie wheels” for disabled dogs (Birmingham Dogs Home)
  • Dentures in a handbag and a live hedgehog – christened Harry – in a duffel bag (Salvation Army)
  • A stuffed tarantula in a cage and a voodoo kit containing real human hair (Mind)
  • A rare book of 52 etchings by the Italian artist Piranesi, missing its front cover and in disrepair that eventually raised £30,000 when sold at auction in August this year (Oxfam)

Elsewhere, Marie Curie have been fortunate enough down the years to receive a second-hand toilet seat, half-eaten black forest gateau, false teeth, glass eyes and dog nappies, all to their charity shops.

Commenting on these findings, Ben Russell, Director of Communications at CAF says: 

“As unusual as these donations are, they show the many ways people can support the charities they care about.  And they show how important charity shops are, helping to raise millions of pounds annually for the good causes they represent.

“Giving Tuesday on 27th November is the ideal moment to do something for a good cause. After the sales of Black Friday this is an ideal chance to give something back, whether it is giving something to a charity shop, organising a charity bake sale at work, pledging to volunteer or just helping out someone round the corner. There are countless ways to make a world of difference on 27th November.”
Andrew Vale, Director of Mind Retail adds:

“We’re always very grateful to those who make donations to Mind shops. There have been some more unusual items donated in the past, such as a live hand grenade and a voodoo kit, which are impossible or inappropriate to put on sale. Although the saying goes ‘It’s the thought that counts’, we have a much better chance of benefitting from donations when they are practical and in good condition.

“Proceeds from all donations will fund the charity’s work, such as our confidential Infoline, which provides information and advice, and the campaigning work we do to secure a better deal for the one in four of us who experience a mental health problem every year.”

To find out more about Giving Tuesday, and how you can get involved, visit: 

Notes to editors

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

  2. A global phenomenon, #GivingTuesday has broken successive world records for the most money donated online to charity. In 2017, people in more than 150 countries did something good on #GivingTuesday, even reaching as far as Antarctica and raising in excess of $274 million online alone. In 2018, leading charities and brands are supporting the day including: Barnardo’s, Marie Curie, Cancer Research UK, the RSPCA  as well as Thomson Reuters, PwC, RBS, Argos and ASOS.

  3. CAF exists to make giving go further, so that more lives and communities around the world can be transformed.

  4. CAF is a charity and a champion for better giving, and for over 90 years has helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact. Through CAF Bank, it offers simple and straightforward day-to-day banking, designed exclusively for charities.

  5. We are CAF and we make giving count.
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