Book sale organiser sad this year's will be the last

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014
Bryan Robb
ROBERT CHARLES
End of an era: Bryan Robb, of Bell Block, is the founding member of the 24-hour book sale.

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The end of the 24-hour book sale is a very sad one for Bryan Robb.

The Bell Block resident was the founding member behind the annual book sale, which draws hundreds of booklovers from around the country every year, eager to buy up a bargain.

Organised by the New Plymouth Opera House Friends Trust, the book sale is in its 25th year, raising funds for the TSB Showplace.

Robb said he felt a little bit like the old lady, who in 1968, said she wished the government had waited until "all the old people died" before changing the currency from pounds to dollars.

"I feel a little bit like that," Robb said.

The annual fundraiser had been a "great money spinner" but it was also taking a toll on its 180 volunteers and over the years have contributed more than $1 million to the Showplace.

There was also the high cost involved in running the event, Robb said.

"Our take out last year was $74,500 and our total cost was $13,000."

But the organiser was never short of books to sell, Robb said.

He said the trust had received a few "super books" over the years, such as the donation of a family Bible from one elderly lady.

"It belonged to her great-grandfather who came from Scotland and it had all her family history listed on the Bible," Robb said.

"She was the last one in the family and didn't know what to do with it."

The Bible fetched $140 which was a "tremendous amount", Robb said. "We were selling books for $3 or $4."

The first book sale, put together by a committee of 13 members, was run in 1989.

Loyal customers are finding the tale a hard one to accept.

Kelly Fryer wrote on the Taranaki Daily News Facebook page that she had found "many treasures" at the book sale over the years.

Denis Wadsworth said it was a "real shame" and the event was one which would be missed by everyone. "It's a sign of the times and congratulations to all those involved over the last 25 years."

Jaclyn Marriner said the event needs to stay as part of the community.

"It helps many, many people in many, many ways. Don't just think it's all about books."

"Why does the council not step in and give a little funding to an initiative that people actually want to see," she wrote.

"After all, reading is an art these days."

The final book sale will be held on August 8 and 9 at the TSB Showplace Theatre Royal.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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