A CHARITY dedicated to raising vital funds towards medical research into a rare and painful skin condition has chosen Swindon to open its newest store in the South West.

DEBRA, an organization set up to find a cure to Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), launched a shop on Victoria Road yesterday morning.

As the clock struck 11am, shoppers began flocking to the second-hand boutique, browsing its well-stocked clothes racks and array of knick knacks.

Penny Weston, area manager for the South West, said she was delighted to see so many people walking through the doors just minutes after the shop’s inauguration.

“To be busy so quickly was a pleasant surprise,” she said. “When we were setting up the shop the people who saw us actually dropped donations off. The people of Swindon have been very generous and welcoming.

“We started viewing the premises in May and we had been looking in Swindon for a long time. We are based in Berkshire and we have been looking to expand to the South West.

“We wanted to open before Christmas and to start raising awareness of EB as soon as possible.”

EB is a genetic condition which causes the skin to blister at the slightest touch and affects one in 17,000 newborns in the UK. More than 5,000 people live with EB in the UK and 500,000 worldwide.

DEBRA has over 100 shops across the UK and is hoping to quickly expand in the town and open a further two stores as soon as possible.

Half of the profits made at its charity shops go towards medical research while the rest is used to fund specialist nurses at hospitals such as Great Ormond Street as well as social care staff to support families whose children are affected by the disease.

The shop, which is open six days a week, currently only has one volunteer and new recruits are urgently needed.

To become a shop volunteer please contact volunteering@debra.org.uk.