December 15, 2016
by Kaitlyn Estens
For the past 20 years, Coonabarabran resident Hazel Coyte has been raising funds for Cooinda through her infamous white elephant garage sales, donating more than $50,000 to the aged-care facility.
Mrs Coyte’s long association with Cooinda commenced in 1979, with the opening of the Nursing Home.
She volunteered each Wednesday, helping with menus, speaking with residents and doing “whatever needed to be done”.
From there, Mrs Coyte began hosting Christmas in July luncheons for 25 to 30 people, donating funds raised on the day back to Cooinda.
When the Times Fun Run kicked off, she organised a White Elephant stall and continued to run it each year at the annual Cooinda Fete.
“We were always carting stuff back and forth, so we decided we’d have a garage sale of our own, from home,” Mrs Coyte said.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, but enjoyable.”
During her numerous years of garage sales, Mrs Coyte has sold everything from air compressors to antique furniture, and even a canoe!
“I’m sure we’ve even had two or three kitchen sinks,” she said.
“It’s amazing the stuff that turns up and there is always a buyer.
“Prices have always been better than reasonable, because we’ve always had so much stuff.”
Despite suffering a broken hip in August, Mrs Coyte said she would like to relaunch her regular garage sales in 2017, albeit on a smaller scale than before.
“It’s slowed me down, so I need to get my health back first.
“I’ll no longer be able to take furniture and big, heavy items, but crockery and small, easy-to-handle household items are welcome.”
Modest about her achievements, Mrs Coyte said she was only doing what other people in the community did.
“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.
“Every dollar has made a difference and bought specific items - beds on a lot of occasions.
“But none of this could have happened without the generosity of the people in this town.”
Cooinda’s general manager, Leanne Redfern, said the funds raised by Mrs Coyte through her regular garage sales and white elephant stalls had been put to good use.
“These funds have benefited both staff and residents,” Mrs Redfern said.
“Hazel and her husband, Eric, have always been there to help when we need them.
“Hazel has Cooinda at heart and we appreciate everything that she does for us - through her role on the Board and her tireless fund-raising efforts.”
Hazel Coyte has donated more than $50,000 to Cooinda Aged Care Facility through her fund-raising efforts over the past 20 years.
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