CELEBS Go Dating and soap star Kimberly Hart-Simpson has swapped film studios for shop floors as she gave up a few hours to help out the British Heart Foundation charity shop – a cause close to her heart.

The 34-year-old, who is known for playing escort Nicky Wheatley in Coronation Street, trod the boards as a Performance student at Oldham College before hitting the small screen, starring in productions including ‘Fame’ and ‘Honk!’.

Kimberly, who has also starred in Hollyoaks, joined the team at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Manchester Piccadilly shop on Wednesday morning where she helped sort donated stock, operate the tills, and dress windows in her role as volunteer.

The Oldham Times:

Kimberly at work in the store.

The actress, whose sister Emma lives with heart condition dilated cardiomyopathy, was keen to volunteer for the BHF which has recently launched its Operation Elf recruitment drive.

Despite a strong bounce back in retail sales following the pandemic, the BHF is urgently appealing for volunteers, after losing more than 2,500 from its shops during the pandemic.

Kimberly is a known advocate for second-hand steals.

Last month, the actress attended the Boxstar: Celebrity Boxing event in Manchester wearing an outfit from the British Heart Foundation charity shop which cost £9.99.

She paired snake trousers with a cut-out blouse and chic and black accessories.

During her time on Celebs Go Dating, Kimberley wore preloved pieces on several occasions, including a gown style dress with a feather trim (below) from a BHF store during a photoshoot.

The Oldham Times:

Kimberly wearing a dress from a BHF store for a Celebs Go Dating photoshoot.

Speaking about the dress, Kimberly said: "I have basically found my entire wardrobe in BHF but one I am proud of is a ball gown style dress with a feather trim that I wore on my photoshoot for ‘Celebs Go Dating’, I purchased it a few years back. I had absolutely no money but remember walking into the shop and seeing it.

"The manager of the shop knew I was in love and knocked a fiver off it for me so I could buy it. Spending my food money on fashion is an illogical decision especially because I had nowhere to wear it to, but now it’s finally had its time. I knew I wanted to wear that for the press shoot as a gentle reminder to myself of my roots and those people kind enough to help me get there."

The actress regularly shares second-hand shopping tips across her social media pages.

Discussing her second-hand shopping secrets with the BHF, Kimberly said: “My top tip is get to know the staff. I have been shopping at one of my BHF stores for five years, they know what I like and when I walk in, I am instantly hit with love. They can predict my taste now and often say ‘there is something in the back you will love’ and of course they are always right.

“Secondly, never hesitate in a charity shop, you do not have the luxury of knowing it will be back in stock. I promise you will kick yourself if you do not buy it, go back and its gone. You will never ever kick yourself for buying it, even if you don’t end up wearing it, because your money went to charity regardless.”

The Oldham Times:

Kimberly wearing a trench coat from a BHF store. 

BHF shops raise millions each year to help fund lifesaving research into all heart diseases, stroke, vascular dementia, and diabetes. 

For more information on volunteering at BHF visit the charity’s website.