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At the end of October, the Magpas Fundraising HQ in Huntingdon saw over 300 people from across the region arrive, in a bid to bag themselves a bargain! The office opened its doors to a teeming queue of punters, who were all ready for Magpas’s first Unclaimed Luggage sale.
Wendy Mason, Magpas former patient and event organiser said, “It was an amazing event and a huge success. Magpas would like to thank everyone involved, especially Sarah and Scott at Stansted Airport who donated the luggage, and also to Miramar Engineering for picking up and storing the bags. Lydia works in the communications department for the charity, working with social media, updating the website, and helping to spread the word of Magpas's life-saving work. To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. Tens of thousands of pounds worth of lost bags and belongings are being sold off by airlines at auctions across the country, The Daily Telegraph reports today. Heathrow is suffering a continuing crisis because of a chronic shortage of handlers and creaking infrastructure. Join us and pick up their own potential treasure trove at the Magpas Air Ambulance unclaimed airport luggage sale on Saturday 26th March.
The luggage has been donated by Stansted Airport and comes from travellers who failed to collect their bags when arriving. Debbie Florence, Head of Fundraising says: “The sale was a great success last time, and we’re hoping more people will get the chance to find a hidden treasure amongst the bags. The charity shop and sale will be open from 10am until 3pm at ourheadquarters at Centenary House, St Mary’s Street, Huntingdon.
Nina Zamo handles communications for Magpas Air Ambulance, including media enquiries, social media, press releases and marketing.
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It is the warehouse of the lost and never found, the final destination of airline luggage that goes missing in the US and is never reclaimed.
It does not seem like the kind of place that would attract a million visitors a year, but bargain hunters from around the world converge on the centre every day, eager to see what treasures the Unclaimed Baggage Center has uncovered. It is a company that buys all the lost and unclaimed luggage from airlines across the US and then sells on everything from clothes to expensive jewellery at discount prices.
The luggage is only sold to the Unclaimed Baggage Center once 90 days have passed, and the owners have not been traced. They receive it, sight unseen, and then unpack, sort and display the items inside the warehouse that is the size of a city block. For the most part that means clothes, rows and rows of them, but it also means some very unusual and valuable items, sometimes sewn into the linings of cases or hidden in crates. One woman discovered $1,000 (?500) hidden in the lining of a case she bought for pocket change, while another found out that the glass vase she had bought as a trinket was actually worth a small fortune. Her entire collection is worth a great deal, and she feels no guilt that many of the items were possibly heirlooms or precious keepsakes. Over in the sporting goods and electronics section there are piles of mobile phones, ever popular iPods, golf clubs, a ukulele (with one string), and even a shotgun that was misplaced by one careless owner. Steve Mare and his mother-in-law have flown all the way from Texas just to visit the warehouse. The Unclaimed Baggage Center started down the road in a shack, when the founder began the business by buying lost luggage from the Greyhound Bus Company. In those days things were literally thrown onto a table and people sorted through, in search of a bargain.
But now the centre is one of Alabama's top tourist destinations proving that "finders keepers, losers weepers" is a big attraction for those in search of a new suit of clothes or a suit of armour.
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The crowd spilled into the charity headquarters to get their hands on one of 130 different bags, all of which had been donated by Stansted Airport, after holiday-makers had failed to pick them up at the end of their travels.
A bald man (with a great sense of humour) discovered hair straighteners and a pink hair dryer in his luggage.
Last month this led to a backlog of up to 40,000 bags.BA has even started trucking unclaimed luggage to Milan for sorting.
However, there’s no peeking inside allowed, although punters can lift the bags to test their weight. A crowd of more than 300 people flocked to our charity shop and the bags sold out within an hour. Prior to working for Magpas Air Ambulance, Nina worked in policy and campaigns for another regional charity, and as an account manager for a PR agency. 5 girl, has been coming to the warehouse for more than 30 years and bought most of her jewellery for around half-price. However, the weirdest luggage of the day had to be the bag containing a drill, a pair of flip flops, a scanner, twenty chocolate bars, and a pair of very nice boots which are now selling on eBay for ?150! One bag contained a pair of boots worth over ?150 and others had some more unusual items including a scanner, a drill, and twenty chocolate bars. Airlines insist that the luggage is only sold after going unclaimed for three months, but insiders at auction houses say that in reality some items have only been missing for a few weeks when they are sold.A worker at one of the main auctioneers, R F Greasbys in Tooting, south London, said he expected record numbers of bags to arrive in coming months. Under the Montreal Convention, an international agreement on airlines' various liabilities to passengers, a limit of A?850 compensation can be claimed.
Willie Walsh, the chief executive of BA, and other airline chiefs met Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, last week in an attempt to have this overturned.BA claims the restrictions mean 23,000 bags a day go through a system designed for 18,000.

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