Bargain Box founder: Bea Stott helped raise more than one million dollars for the Committee of 25 for Handicapped Children. *Photos supplied
Bargain Box founder: Bea Stott helped raise more than one million dollars for the Committee of 25 for Handicapped Children. *Photos supplied
Bargain Box founder Bea Stott has died just weeks before a milestone event for the charity.

The opening of the newly-renovated Bargain Box on Serpentine Road, which was designed by her son architect Duncan Stott, is scheduled to open this month.

Mrs. Stott first opened the Bargain Box in 1975, in a little wooden building that had been bought from the Navy Base, to raise money for the Committee of 25 for Handicapped.

'Everything store'

The Bargain Box became very well known as a second hand "everything store" that became a huge part of many peoples lives - whether it was a place to donate clothes to, volunteer at or the only place they could afford to shop.

Proceeds went to the Committee of 25.

By 1985 the Bargain Box had outgrown the wooden hut, which was torn down to make room for a new building, with an upper floor to provide rental income.

"Thanks to her untiring devotion to the project, Bea and her teams of volunteers have raised over one million dollars for the Committee," said Committee of 25 Board Members.

Born in Goole, Yorkshire, England in 1920, Mrs. Stott moved to Bermuda in 1961 with her husband David Stott and three children, Duncan, David and Moira.

Seven years later, she found herself divorced and facing the prospect of supporting three children on her own.

She applied for and was granted Bermudian status so she would be able to work, and immediately turned her house, "Strathisla" into a Bed and Breakfast.

She soon built a reputation with tourists for the best English breakfast in Bermuda.

Most guests found themselves not only having breakfast but also an invite to dinner.

"There was never a quiet dinner at Strathisla," said her daughter Moira Merrithew. "Anyone that showed up close to the dinner hour was likely to get an invitation."

Guests returned year after year for Mrs. Stott's hospitality.

She was also an avid supporter of the arts, raising funds and volunteering regularly for the Bermuda Ballet Association and the Bermuda Civic Ballet.

Arts award

She was given a Bermuda Arts Council award for all the work she had done through the years to support the arts, as well as a Queens Certificate and Badge of Honour.

"Our fondest memories as a family were the memories of mum and the home we grew up in," Mrs. Merrithew said. "'Strathisla' was our little oasis. New Years in Bermuda was so much fun with all the families she knew coming up with skits to pass the time until the New Year was rung in."

Mrs. Merrithew said that the most interesting story her mother ever told about herself was that she wanted to compete in the Olympics.

"She loved to swim and according to her brother Oborne, now 90, she was the fastest swimmer in Yorkshire," she said.

"She used to teach the soldiers how to swim with backpacks on their back. This was actually how she met our dad."

The memorial service for Bea Stott will be held on Saturday, January 24th at Christ Church in Warwick at 1pm.