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Abbeyfield benefit raises $20,000

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 16, the doors of the Pender Harbour Community Hall opened to the public for a silent auction.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 16, the doors of the Pender Harbour Community Hall opened to the public for a silent auction.

Inside was a treasure trove of goodies, everything from fine china and jewellery to a professional socket wrench set, and gift certificates for a load of gravel, a landscape gardening consultation, an overnight stay in a B&B, a harbour tour and more, all donated by the generous people of Pender Harbour and their friends from up and down the Coast.

Several good-natured bidding wars ensued and by 3 p.m. when the "pens down" announcement was made, almost $7,000 had been raised to support seniors housing in the community. Then it was time to break it all down and set up for the dinner/dance, the other part of the fundraiser, which was set to go in the evening. Local volunteers put a magnificent feast on the table, much of the food donated by local businesses.

For those with any room left, there was an assortment of pies donated by the members of the Legion Auxiliary and the Health Centre Auxiliary. Sue Rayment and Friends provided the music, and a live auction, held at the intermission of the dance, brought more friendly competition between bidders intent on walking away with the stained glass artwork, the pet care gift basket, or the Harry Potter book just released that day.

The fundraiser was a joint project of the Pender Harbour Music Society and the Area A Society for Seniors Housing, with all proceeds going to the construction of an Abbeyfield House in Pender Harbour.

The Abbeyfield model originated over 40 years ago in the United Kingdom. At present there are 21 operating houses in western Canada and four under construction. The Pender Harbour Abbeyfield House will provide rental accommodations (bed-sitting room with attached bathroom) for 10 elderly seniors who are not in need of full-time nursing care in a homey, non-institutionalized atmosphere.

There will be common areas, including lounges, dining room, kitchen, and laundry room. A live-in house coordinator will be responsible for providing home-cooked meals and looking after everyday needs. The non-profit society will oversee the running of the house. The land on which the Abbeyfield House will be built is being donated by local developer, Ryan Campbell of Lily Lake Homes.

Although not all the bills are in yet, Paul Cuppen, chair of the Seniors Housing Society, estimates that between the auctions, the dinner dance, and the various cash donations received on that day, the benefit will net about $20,000, which gives the society a good start.

He also knows that this will be the first of several such fundraisers. Donations are welcome and tax receipts are available. For more information, contact Cuppen at 604-883-9883 or Marg Penney at 604-883-0237.