THE END: Hospice Book Shop volunteers from left, Cec Pilkington, Jim Malynn and Ailsa Crichton are preparing for the shop's closure.
THE END: Hospice Book Shop volunteers from left, Cec Pilkington, Jim Malynn and Ailsa Crichton are preparing for the shop's closure. Rob Williams

No happy ending for Ipswich Hospice volunteers

OVER the past two decades they've done their fair share of the heavy lifting for Ipswich Hospice.

A combination of rising costs, loss of customers and an ageing volunteer force has resulted in a decision to close the Friends of Hospice Book Shop in Ipswich's Old Flour Mill.

The shop will hold a sale leading up to its final day of trading on October 13.

The decision was a tough one for Hospice.

A band of committed volunteers at the Book Shop has contributed just shy of $500,000 since opening in 1996.

Unfortunately, with sales in decline and bills on the rise, the fundraising branch of the vital Ipswich palliative care service has struggled to make ends meet in recent times.

Book shop volunteer of 16 years and Friends of Hospice president Jim Malynn said after running at a loss for the past 18 months, the writing was on the wall.

"We were working for the landlord and the electricity company," Mr Malynn said.

All up, the humble book shop contributed $490,000 to Ipswich Hospice Care during its 22 years; not bad for a seller of donated books, music and bric-a-brac.

Friends of Hospice secretary Ailsa Crichton said the bad news was hard to take.

"We are all quite sad about closing," Mrs Crichton said.

"We have been operating since 1996 and we have a lot of long-term volunteers here among our team of 23.

"Unfortunately a lot of them have health problems so it is not practical to sign a long-term lease."

Friends of Hospice volunteers including Mr Malynn and Mrs Crichton will continue working to champion fundraising for Ipswich Hospice Care, which operates a palliative care unit and bereavement support centre at Eastern Heights.

In an effort to sell as many of the remaining 3000 books as possible, the shop will hold a Super Sale, starting September 13, where all items will be $1 or less.

For more information, phone the shop on 3319 1072.



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