Blue Nurses Op Shop staff (from left) Nancy May, Tina Nicholls, Robbie Fissenden, Decima Miller and Betty Jones.
Blue Nurses Op Shop staff (from left) Nancy May, Tina Nicholls, Robbie Fissenden, Decima Miller and Betty Jones. Alistair Brightman

Blue Nurses' Op Shop to close

THE TEARS are flowing this morning in the Blue Nurses Opportunity Shop in Hervey Bay.

After 34 years the shop is closing – on orders from Brisbane head office.

When shop volunteers learnt of the shock decision they were told Blue Care was in the caring business, not retail.

At the time of the announcement earlier this year, Blue Care's Fraser Coast community care manager Fraser Coast, Kerrie Storey, said the shop volunteers had provided a wonderful service over many years and Blue Care was grateful for their hard work and the support of the community.

“We don't want to lose our volunteers – they are such a brilliant team – and we will be helping them in their move to new activities,” she said.

Yesterday the shop's convenor, Decima Miller, also fought tears as she sorted dwindling piles of clothing donations in the staff room.

“It's hard for all of us, especially those who have been volunteering here for 20 to 25 years. We will shut the doors at 4pm on Friday, November 26.

“We have 66 ladies on our books and hopefully all will come to our farewell lunch at the Kondari Hotel on November 22.

“Then on February 18 we'll hold a meeting in the botanic gardens where people can bring their lunch. That day we will decide where our Blue Care Auxiliary goes next, what it does, because we will no longer be able to collect and sell clothes to raise money for the Blue Nurses.

“After we close the nurses will have to rely on grants and those are drying up these days too.”

The opportunity shop began in the late Gwen Cook's little Cypress Street basement and a year later she offered the business to the Blue Nurses. They opened in January 1978 from Cypress Street where they paid $12 a week rent.

In their first month they made $324.30.

The shop moved to Beach Road, Main Street, and two years ago to Hunter Street.

Decima said everything in the shop was now half price.

“We are taking clothing donations all the way to the end but the bin outside will go next week. Lifeline will take anything we have left over.”

Tomorrow at 8am in the Uniting Church in Exeter Street, many of the women and their families will gather for a commemorative service led by Pastor Claire Hoole. Shop customers are welcome.



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