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Chance meeting grows into a ‘wonderful business partnership’

Katy and Barry Tong (left), pictured with Lee and Lorraine Lewis

Health and beauty products worth a total of £125,000 have been donated to cancer charity The Lewis Foundation.

It is the largest single gift received by the charity, which delivers gift packs to adult cancer patients in hospitals across the Midlands.

The owners of multi-million-pound enterprise Sol Retail in Swan Valley gifted a staggering 10,000 units of stock to mark the company’s ongoing charity work and recent ten-year anniversary. A lorry-load of cosmetics and toiletries was delivered to the charity’s warehouse in Northampton’s Kings Heath industrial estate.

Sol Retail managing director Barry Tong and his wife Katy first met The Lewis Foundation’s founders Lorraine and Lee Lewis when they were fundraising on a small supermarket stand in 2018.

“We are astounded by the sheer generosity of Barry, Katy, and the Sol Retail team, so much so that we have even had to use an extra warehouse room to temporarily store the stock before our volunteers pack them into our gift bags,” said Lorraine. “That chance meeting four years ago has turned into a wonderful business partnership and we are so very grateful to Sol Retail for choosing to support The Lewis Foundation in this way.”

The Tongs have watched on as The Lewis Foundation has grown. “We have been following Lorraine and Lee’s journey with real interest,” said Barry. “We have hit our own major milestones as a business this year too, by becoming Amazon’s biggest retailers and reaching a £10 million turnover on our tenth birthday, so we wanted to do something spectacular to celebrate. We might be a global business but our roots are very much in Northamptonshire, which is why we are giving back to a local worthwhile cause on a massive scale.”

Sol Retail has also provided the charity with business advice to deliver on its growth plans. “It means so much to us all to know that this substantial donation will make even more of a difference,” said Barry.

Any surplus stock will be sold in the charity’s pop-up shop in Northampton or at fundraising events including the Water Dash on June 18. Find out more online at: