She was the face of Christmas for families in Penryn for more than 30 years and now, in her passing, Wendy Dunstan will be able to make the festive period that little bit more special for children one last time through a collection in her memory.

Wendy, who was probably best known for her store, Wendy’s Toy Shop in Higher Market Street, died last Thursday, exactly two weeks after her 85th birthday.

And while she may not have married or had any children of her own, Wendy was a much-loved figure for countless youngsters who would go to spend their pocket money or pick their toys out at Christmas, while she would help spread the cost for parents through her Christmas Club.

Shelley Peters, a cousin of Wendy’s and one of her goddaughters, told the Packet: “As kids we all used to go in there and spend our pocket money and birthday money.

“She always had somewhere for you to sit and chat if you wanted. It was a very community-based shop.”

Falmouth Packet: Wendy outside her toy shop with a young Rachel Gerred-HartWendy outside her toy shop with a young Rachel Gerred-Hart (Image: Rachel Gerred-Hart)

Now those close to her have decided to hold a collection in her honour, with the money to be donated to Children’s Hospice South West to buy presents for children staying with them over the festive period this year. Donations can be made via funeral directors Kingsley Tresidder Funeral Services at Ponsanooth.

Although Wendy had been diagnosed with leukaemia 14 years ago, her passing still came as a shock to those who knew her.

A comfort, however, was that she was able to die in her home at The Praze – the same house she lived in her entire life – as per her wishes, following some time spent in hospital.

Also as per her wishes, there will be no funeral, with just a private cremation, although her cousins hope to hold a memorial service at a later date.

Wendy was born on July 13, 1938, the daughter of Iris and Arthur ‘Dickie’ Dunstan. Her father was the local blacksmith, who also went on to become mayor of Penryn for a time.

She attended the church school on The Praze and often recalled a happy childhood spent with her parents.

When she left school she went to work for Leonard’s Shoe Shop in Falmouth, then Hillmar’s Toy Shop before opening her own in Penryn in the early 1960s, which she continued to run until around 1997 or 98.

Alongside her toy shop, Wendy was also a devoted member of St Gluvias Church, not just attending Sunday services but cleaning the brasses, arranging flowers and serving teas and coffees afterwards. When she became too ill to attend, she received communion at home.

Wendy was a supporter of the Royal British Legion and would look after the war memorial at St Gluvias Church, as well as sell poppies in the run up to Armistice Day. She also supported the Samaritans and the British Red Cross.

A keen traveller, she often went abroad with her parents, including cruises, and when they died she would continue to travel both to other countries and around the UK, on coach trips. She was particularly keen on London, where she would attend shows and famously enjoyed lunches at Claridge’s, which she would recommend to anyone visiting the capital.

Wendy was also known for driving around town in her little Fiesta, Ruby.

Falmouth Packet: Wendy died two weeks after her 85th birthdayWendy died two weeks after her 85th birthday (Image: Shelley Peters)

Shelley said: “She had some amazing friends, who were life-long friends. I don’t think she knew how much she was loved.”

Catherine Hyde, another of Wendy’s cousins and goddaughters, recalled: “She was always happy doing any collections for the church,” with Shelley adding: “Or anybody else. If she knew somebody needed something she would be the first one there.”

Shortly before she died, Wendy achieved an ambition to visit the donkeys at the Flicka Foundation in Mabe, where she had one of them, Bertie, adopted in her name.

Shelley said: “She’s going to be very much missed. Even up to the end she had a cheeky sparkle.”