PSP “drove us to open a shop”

This article about the wife of a British gentleman with PSP was mentioned on the PSP Europe Association’s website. … -shop.html

‘Illness drove us to open a shop’
When David Clifton was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, a degenerative brain disease, his family could have given up.

By Richard Tyler, Enterprise Editor
Published: 3:26PM GMT 16 Mar 2010
Telegraph (UK)

Instead, his wife Sheila and their two daughters, Amy and Nicola, have just opened a shop.

“His illness drove us to do this,” says Amy, 30. “When someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness all too quickly you realise we are all here for a very short time. It can happen to anybody.”

Sheila Clifton, 44, from Nailsea, near Bristol, left her job as an accounts manager at a local publishing company in 2006 to look after her husband. In her spare time she made bespoke handbags and has since studied stained glass at her local college.

“Mum cares for Dad full time and she needs an outlet. She is a creative person,” says Amy.

The family tried hiring stalls at local trade fairs but did not think they worked well as spaces for local craftspeople and artists to show their wares.

“Mum said to me and my sister one day, ‘I really fancy opening a shop’. We looked into it,” says Amy. They found a vacant premises just down the road from their home, making it ideal for Sheila to balance David’s care with running the business.

Amy says: “A lot of it was down to luck. It’s a big shop and we have lots of space to fill. We got a really good deal. They are developing the building next year so no established business was prepared to take it on. Our plan is to establish ourselves and get known as a place to find really lovely things.”

The Blue Room opened its doors 10 days ago and Amy reports that trade at the craft and arts gallery has been brisk. “Saturday went amazingly well, but strangely Tuesday was better, with more people coming in and more sales. We have had fantastic comments from people, both who know us and those who don’t,” she says.

They are charging a fee and commission to display, promote and sell any works. Amy is building a website and plans to publish a newsletter to encourage customers to return. It is her second enterprise ­ she also has a copywriting venture called Hartland Creative ­ as well as a full-time job.

She laughs at the suggestion that they are fortunate that they all get on ­ setting up a business with parents and siblings can be fraught.

“We have always been a close family and we are really lucky that we like each other,” says Amy. “We all get on so well. Mum and Dad, when he was well, always encouraged us to do what we wanted to do; not sitting and letting the world pass us by.”

For more information on progressive supranuclear palsy: