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Rotary Christmas shop pops up ahead of festive season

Flagstaff Team

Trees a crowd-pleaser… Sharing Christmas goodwill are (from left) Jackie Brewer, Viv Dykes and Paddy Stafford-Bush, holding the seasonal fabric bunting that will be among items sold for charity

Christmas-themed shopping for a good cause comes to Devonport next week, with the opening of a Rotary fundraising outlet.

The pop-up shop, to open for two days, will sell hand-crafted decorative and gift items, ideal for those who like to dress their homes with seasonal flair. Among these are door wreaths, fabric reindeer to sit on the mantlepiece and Christmas bunting. Painted wooden Christmas trees and cakes, including gluten-free options, will also be on sale.

Proceeds would be directed to help people in need, said Devonport Rotary member Paddy Stafford-Bush.

A team of around 10 has been busily sourcing and crafting items for some months, among them near neighbours in Cheltenham, Jackie Brewer and Viv Dykes. Brewer even got a family member to pitch in, by bringing foraged pine cones from the South Island to be used in the making of wreaths. Vines for the wreaths were sourced from Soljans vineyard in west Auckland.

Brewer’s husband Craig, a Rotary member, has been helping out making trees in the couple’s garage, from donated wooden palettes.

Dykes has used her sewing skills to fashion a number of reusable fabric gift bags, for wine or smaller presents. Food throws and napkins in Christmas prints will also be available.

The group calls itself the Christmas pop-up committee and hopes to raise upwards of $5000. Items to be sold will range in price from a few dollars to just under $100, said Dykes.

Stafford-Bush said not all of the mostly female volunteers were Rotarians, but they had been keen to enter the Christmas spirit. “It’s brought us all together too, which is lovely.”

Rotary usually fundraises through its Fine Homes Tours, held every second year. With a separate alternating biennial event, Sculpture on the Shore, moved back to 2021 because of Covid-19, the popular home tours will not now take place until 2022.

The pop-up shop would help fill the gap, said Stafford-Bush, keeping up Rotary’s profile and also linking to the tours, which last time round featured a theme of homes decorated for Christmas. The idea was born during lockdown, with most of the bespoke items made over the last three to four months.

The store would also sell the wider Rotary organisation’s plum puddings and host a raffle.

Funds raised would go to the Rotary Trust to distribute to individuals, families and groups in need. Rotary would liaise with community groups to determine who to help and welcomed approaches as well. “It’s been a hard, sad year and this just gives something to look forward to,” said Brewer.

• Find the Rotary pop-up shop, in Clarence St, Devonport (next to Harcourts), open on Friday 27 November from 9am to 5pm and again, stock permitting, on Saturday 28 November.

This article originally appeared in the 29 January 2021 edition of the Flagstaff. Read online here.

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