Angels flying off the shelves at the Quadrant Shopping Centre in Swansea

PINK guardian angels are flying off the shelves at a Swansea shopping centre – and helping raise cash for cancer charities.

The Race For Life good luck mascots are the latest idea from Anna Gabrieli, who was inspired to start making them, with her two nieces Natalie
and Stephanie Evans,  after her sister Susan died from cancer.

Anna’s previously made a host of the angels to help Swansea  to their Wembley victory  – with player Angel Rangel also crediting them for ending his eight-month goal drought.

Anna, from Gendros, has already raised £40,000 for cancer charities, and has been selling her latest creations in Swansea’s Quadrant Shopping Centre.

The 56-year-old former South Wales Police civilian support worker can’t believe how popular her designs have become with shoppers at the Quadrant Centre. They’re available as pendants, pocket mascots, anklets, ear-rings, necklaces and even handbag charms or book marks.

“I thought everybody in Swansea had got one but now they seem to want the full set,” laughed Anna. “We did them in black and white as the Swan Angels, which raised £5,000 alone but the latest ones are pink, for Race For Life. They are very pretty with canna lily shaped flowers. We’re hoping to raise around £3,000.

“I will be doing the race with Natalie, but we will also have a stall at the event, on Sunday. My friends will look after the stall while Natalie and I are taking part in the race – though we will be walking, not running.

The money from the pink Race for Life angels will go towards Cancer Research, though Anna’s creations usually raise money for the Lymphoma Leukaemia Myeloma Fund,  plus a refurbished stem cell unit at Singleton Hospital’s ward 11 and  one-off items needed by the unit or  Tŷ Olwen Hospice at Morriston Hospital.

“Cancer is cancer, anything that helps somebody is important,” said Anna.

Susan, who worked as a clerical officer for the Land Registry, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, in 2009, only a few days after their father had died, explained Anna.

“I stayed with my sister every day.  My friends became concerned for my welfare and urged me to join a life-long learning course in jewellery making and my sister also encouraged me to do so.

“I started making jewellery and pretty soon friends were buying them.  Both Sue and I became involved and we would take them into Ward 11 at Singleton Hospital and the patients and nurses would buy them.  I asked people to give me their broken jewellery and I would recycle the beads into other jewellery.”

After spotting a crystal angel Anna decided to make her own version using beads, and has now sold thousands of them, asking for a £3 donation. She’s now selling pink and blue versions at babywear shops, and has got more link-ups with celebrities in the pipeline, so she can keep on raising cash for cancer charities.

“When I lost my sister everything seemed to go to pot, making these angels really seemed to help,” said Anna.

“I’m not ready yet to stop making the angels – they have brought me, and my nieces, a lot of comfort. Making the Angels has brought me so much comfort.  I feel when I’m making them it’s helping me keep Susan’s memory alive.”

Helping her make the glass angels is Natalie, 21, who works for the DWP, plus Stephanie, 15, who has just completed her GCSEs. Also lending a hand are Anna’s friends Jeanette and Tegwyth Curtis – the pair are married to two brothers who have both fought cancer.

Jeannette’s husband Geoff had prostate cancer, while Tegwyth’s husband Bev had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Another helper is Janeda Thomas, whose mother is currently undergoing treatment at Singleton Hospital’s Haematology Department.

“We’ve had a stall in the Quadrant Centre and we made £900 in just two days – people were so keen to get them and so generous,” added Anna.

“It used to be mostly women who bought them but since we brought out the Swan Angels men have started buying as well, to keep in their pocket as a good luck mascot when they go to a football game.”

Ian Kirkpatrick, Manager of the Quadrant Shopping Centre, said: “Anna’s story is very touching and the work she is doing for charity is

“We’re delighted her Angels are here in the Quadrant and they’re certainly pretty in pink.”

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