Tuesday, 2 October 2007

OXFAM founder - on the side of the angels

The founder of the very first Oxfam shop has died aged 88, the charity said today.

Joe Mitty MBE, who earned the nickname of "salesman on the side of the angels", was Oxfam's first ever paid employee when he took up the post of manager of the shop in Broad Street, Oxford, in 1949.

Joe called in the help of celebrities such as Harry Secombe, Laurence Olivier, and the Beatles to publicise Oxfam's work. He was himself a major media figure, bringing to public attention the famines, floods and wars that were affecting so many in so many places.

By 1971 Oxfam had become a household name and the chain of shops was generating more than £1million a year and is now the biggest charity retailer on the high street.

He went on to work for the organisation for more than 33 years, officially retiring in 1982.