Meet the market trader who has been raising charity cash for more than 30 years

A Sunderland stallholder has been lending her time to charities for the last 30 years and in the last two years has raised over £3,000 in memory of friends and family she’s lost to cancer.

Lilian Griffiths, aged 71 from South Shields is a stallholder at Jacky White’s Market in Sunderland and has been fundraising for charities for the last 30 years.

The traditional market, located within the Bridges Shopping Centre, and which is overseen by Sunderland City Council, has a wide range of products and services and attracts shoppers from across the city.

For the last two years, with the support of fellow stallholders in the market, Lilian has been raising money for North East cancer charity, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which counts Sunderland AFC legend Niall Quinn among its Patrons.

John Williams (Lilian’s brother)
(Image: Longstone PR)

Initially from a table in front of her own stall, LG Fashions, where she sells men’s and women’s clothes, and now extended on to another stall that is currently vacant, Lilian sells second-hand goods in exchange for donations to the charity.

Sadly, Lilian lost her brother, John Williams, to cancer seven years ago. Then, in 2018, John’s best friend lost his wife, Anne Ashcroft, to the same disease. That prompted Lilian to begin fundraising for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

In two years, with every penny donated to the charity, she has raised an amazing £3,450.

Lilian says: “I’ve helped a number of charities over the years, including St Clare’s Hospice in Jarrow, which is such a miss to us all. They were there for me when I lost my brother, John, to cancer seven years ago.

“John’s best friend, Brian, would come and sit with him when he was poorly. Then Brian’s wife, Anne, also died from cancer and that’s when I thought I should do some fundraising for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“People are very kind and donate all sorts of things for the stall. It’s mainly second-hand books but there are also lots of DVDs, CDs and puzzles and things.

Anne Ashcroft (Lilian’s friend)
(Image: Longstone PR)

“It works really well because we’re making use of things that might have ended up being thrown away and people can pick up a bargain.

“In fact, people often buy a pile of books and then donate them back again once they’ve read them.

“The other stallholders here help where they can. And I’m very proud to be playing a part in doing something about cancer.”

Sir Bobby Robson launched his Foundation in 2008 and it has gone on to raise over £14 million. An NHS charity, it aims to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer by working in partnership with other leading charities and organisations within the North East.

Lady Elsie Robson says: “We’re very touched by Lilian’s fundraising for our Foundation.

“She’s a remarkable woman and, like too many of us, has experienced the pain of losing a loved one to cancer.

“To have raised over £3,000 is absolutely magnificent and we’re very grateful to Lilian and the other stallholders at Jacky White’s, who I know help support her efforts. And, of course, to all the visitors to the market who donate or buy the second-hand goods.

“We’ve very appreciative and every penny raised will be put to excellent use through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation helping cancer patients here in the North East.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, says: “Well done to Lilian and all the customers who’ve supported her good and charitable works for the Foundation

“Cancer is a terrible disease that strikes at far, far too many of our nearest and dearest.

“All donations and contributions, no matter what their size, help make a difference.”

As a fund within the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Charity, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation does not employ professional fundraisers to proactively raise money, and relies completely on third party, volunteer fundraisers and the incredible generosity of the general public.

The work funded directly benefits cancer patients in the North East and Cumbria and plays a significant role in the international fight against the disease, funding cutting-edge cancer treatment and innovative cancer support services.

For more information and to find out how to support the charity, please visit

Chronicle Live – Sunderland