The country girl with a big heart

Deborah Daybell has worked at Cooroy’s Lifeline charity shop for 22 years and organised the popular annual Denim and Country Sale for 13 years. That’s a long haul and yet, amazingly, she remains as helpful and good-natured as ever.

So, what keeps her going? What fuels her enthusiasm?

Deborah Daybell – 22 years of friendly service at Cooroy Lifeline

 

Her answer is straightforward and honest. “I just like it when people get a really good deal,” she says. “Like when they pick up a brand new R.M. Williams shirt (which usually retail at over $100) for only $25!”

Deborah’s friendly, giving spirit may have a lot to do with where she comes from. She grew up in Mount Isa, where her mum worked at a drug rehabilitation centre, and she definitely still feels a strong connection to country districts and people. This, she explains, is a major reason why she wanted to create a sale that dealt specifically in good quality country clothing – which is often pricey in the shops. She says she is constantly amazed at the quality of some of the clothing that is donated to them. “Just the other day, a woman walked in with four pairs of brand new Wranglers,” she says.

With this kind of quality, it’s no wonder the sale did so well this year, with shoppers coming from as far afield as Brisbane and Bundaberg. They made $71,000 in total ($41,000 on the first day) and didn’t have much stock left over at the end. Deborah says it helped a lot that they were able to use the refurbished Cooroy Memorial Hall again which meant that everything was more spacious and organised.

Not surprisingly, Deborah helped raise funds for the Hall refurbishment by holding a Mega Raffle. With the help of her other Lifeline volunteers, they sold $4,000 worth of tickets outside the front of the IGA – and this amount was then matched by Council.

Preparations for next year’s sale are already well underway with 80 cartons of clothing collected already, including good quality leather jackets, boots, bags, belts, Driza-Bone, etc. Once again it will take place in May (7th, 8th and 9th), backing onto the Fusion Festival. Last year, Deborah got students from NDHS involved (upcycling denim) and they will be back next year, doing something different.

Meanwhile, there is still plenty of life in the Lifeline shop which celebrated 25 years in Cooroy last year. Over the years, Deborah has overseen a large expansion in the premises, as well as surviving a fire which burnt down the butchery next door. She has also witnessed a lot of change in the town and remembers toddlers coming into the shop who are now going to uni!

Like all charity shops, Lifeline relies on donations. They have two bins in the carpark opposite the Cooroy Library or people can drop items at the shop. Lifeline also offers a helpful service in which they drop a bin off at your house. You can fill it at your leisure and then they will collect it when you’re ready.

All the money from the Lifeline shop and the Denim and Country Sale goes to Lifeline’s Suicide Prevention Line (13 11 14), helping to support the counselling centre.

Deborah emphasises that she couldn’t do any of this work without all the amazing volunteers that give their time so generously. Lifeline is always on the lookout for more volunteers so anyone interested should pop into the shop, where they will be assured of a warm and friendly, country welcome.

 

A Cooroy Termite & Pest Control community initiative

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