ONE OF the country's foremost retail charities has underlined its commitment to the Reading Retail Awards.

The Retail Trust is the largest trade charity that supports current employees or those retired from the retail industry in the UK.

The 180 year old trust provides an array of services to its members, including a telephone helpline and financial support for times of economic difficulty.

For the first time this year they have begun working with the Reading Retail Awards, not only by offering the competition their seal of approval, but by agreeing to host a silent auction.

Come the big awards ceremony at the Hilton Hotel on September 17, the Retail Trust will aim to bolster their coffers by mutely flogging off a series of goods.

David Heywood, the trust's digital marketing and communications manager, said: “When we first started working with the awards we thought 'how can we do something that is meaningful, in the spirit of the awards and does something that gives back to the charity?'

'We felt a silent auction would be a great way to help us get provisions and will be fun for the people at the ceremony.

“We are quite often described as one of the best kept secrets in the retail world. To participate with events like this is a great way to celebrate the people that run the retail business and to help people find out about us.”

The shortlist for the Reading Retail Awards was released last week.

To find out who's heading to the final in the awards' twelve categories and how to get tickets to September's ceremony, go to www.readingretailawards.co.uk