News / Community / Featured / 1st July 2021
White elephant wonder
After more than 40 years hosting White Elephant garage sales in aid of Cooinda Coonabarabran, Hazel Coyte has called it a day.
Still as feisty as ever, the 83-year-old admitted time was catching up with her, but said she wanted to go out with a bang.
“I hadn’t held one for a few years,” Mrs Coyte said.
“And over that time I had collected so many wonderful, beautiful items so I thought - why not have one last big sale. One last hurrah!
“There was so much really good quality stuff.
“I’m getting on in years now, but I still wanted to hold one more.”
The money raised from her epic garage sales throughout the years is estimated to be around $60,000.
It has all been donated back Cooinda Coonabarabran, a not-for- profit aged care facility, close to Mrs Coyte’s heart.
From the opening of the nursing home back in 1979, Mrs Coyte has been lending a helping hand.
She commenced by volunteering each Wednesday at Cooinda, helping with anything that was required at the time.
From there she began hosting Christmas in July luncheons, always donating the proceeds back to Cooinda.
After the Times Fun Run kicked off, she organised her first White Elephant stall and continued to run it at the annual Cooinda fete.
When her mother became a resident of the home, Mrs Coyte became a board member and later a Patron of Cooinda.
“I have a passion for Cooinda and adequate aged care in Coonabarabran - it is such an important thing to have and a huge asset to the town,” she said.
“That’s the reason I donate my energy and time, but I’m running out of both.
“It’s been a wonderful journey. We’ve raised lots of money for a good cause and we’ve had fun doing it.”
Over the years the money raised has gone toward items including televisions, beds, tables and chairs for residents.
While Mrs Coyte was confident it was her last garage sale, she left the door slightly ajar for a possible future return.
“This is our last, last sale,” she said.
“It was our “last” one last time too!
“But people kept dropping things off to us. And the things we have are such high quality it would be a shame not to try and make some money for Cooinda.”
Of all the odds and ends she has sold in her garage sales, Mrs Coyte said one of the strangest items was a canoe.
“All of a sudden we had this giant 20-foot canoe in our front yard,” she laughed.
“That didn’t take long to sell either.
“But we’ve had a lot of things come in and sell and we had no idea what they were.”
At last Saturday’s final White Elephant sale, Mrs Coyte raised $800 for Cooinda, with the remaining goods donated to ADRA.
Cooinda chief executive officer, Leanne Redfern said Mrs Coyte’s generosity was second to none.
“She has been doing it for such a long time and she’s never asked for anything - she just does it quietly in the background,” Mrs Redfern said.
“It takes a lot of work and effort in what she does.
“Hazel has always been a strong loyal supporter of Cooinda.”
To find out more on how to donate to Cooinda, visit www.cooindacoona.com.au/how-you-can-help