A JEWELLERY shop owned by the family of brave leukaemia teenager Josie Grove has been forced to close by the recession.
The Hexham business sold a range of unique collections, including the special Dragonfly in memory of the inspirational 16-year-old who died two years ago.
Parents Jacqui and Cliff were forced to make the “very painful” decision to close Grove Contemporary Jewellery, due to trading conditions.
But the premises, in Hallstile Bank, will be reborn as the headquarters of the charity, Josie’s Dragonfly Trust, which continues to grow.
It was set up as a tribute to the teenager, who chose not continue with her leukaemia treatment after two failed bone marrow transplants and instead spend time with family and friends. The jewellery can now only be bought online.
The charity was set up with an aim of donating a cash gift of £500 to every child suffering from an incurable form of the disease in all 23 hospitals which specialise in cancer care for youngsters, as well as providing crafts and activities.
Speaking from her home in Bangkok, Thailand, where the family run a jewellery factory, Mrs Grove said: “It was a very painful decision to close the shop.
“I was over in November and so many people came in and just chatted about Josie and that was lovely.
“We had a very tough Christmas with our sales not even covering the staff. We sold a lot of Dragonflies, but the funds from those go to the charity.” The family hope to return throughout the year to visit the site, which will also be a base for art and craft activities.
Mrs Grove, 46, said closing their shop meant the charity could be kept as a voluntary organisation, with almost all funds going help children with cancer.
It gives £500 donations to youngsters at eight of the 23 hospitals planned.
Mrs Grove said: “As well as raising funds, the Dragonflies are a great for spreading the word about the charity.
Almost all or new sales come from someone who was given a Dragonfly and then buys more for friends and family.
“The internet means that I can run the charity from 6,000 miles away and do something for children who go through this terrible illness.
:: TO visit the charity log on to www.josiesdragonfly.org
:: Read more stories on Josie Grove