Pop star Faye Tozer took on the honours as she helped launch a charity’s latest venture.
The Steps singer is patron of the Charlie Cookson Foundation and led the celebrations as the fund opened its new shop in South Shields.
The store, at the Fowler Street entrance to the Denmark Centre, will raise cash to help continue its work to financially support families with children who have life-limiting conditions.
It was set up by Charlie’s parents Chris and Sarah, from Simonside, after their boy died in 2013 after he was born with a mystery condition.
The opening day would have been his sixth birthday.
Within its first hours it had raised £300, with the project made possible thanks to the a £40,000 donation from the Kavli Trust, which owns the Primula Cheese brand.
Faye was fantastic and she got stuck in to help, so a big thank you to her.Sarah Cookson
The money will support the running costs of the shop and its manager for two years, with a team of volunteers helping to welcome customers and keep its shelves stocked.
The project has also been helped by Barclays and a host of tradespeople to get the store ready for customers.
Sarah said: “We had a massive turn out and it went really well.
“Faye was fantastic and she got stuck in to help, so a big thank you to her.
“Now we need to keep it stocked, so we need donations.”
The shop joins one which runs in Perth Green Community Centre in Jarrow and a market stall run by Charlie’s nanna.
Pre-loved items including toys, DVDs, CDs, clothes, sofas and other pieces of furniture are needed to keep them running.
The charity’s next fundraising event will be an Easter party on Sunday, April 23, at Harton Sports Centre in St Mary’s Avenue, South Shields.
It will run from noon until 3pm, with more details available via the The Charlie Cookson Foundation “CCF” Facebook page.
Anyone who would like more information can visit its website http://charliecookson.org.uk/