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Opening day celebration … The Rangiora St John Opportunity Shop manager Jewels O’Hare with Waimakariri District Mayor Dan Gordon. PHOTOS: SHELLEY TOPP

By STAFF REPORTERS

An opportunity shop which opened in Rangiora on Saturday will help keep the wheels of St John turning.

The op shop, on the corner of Blackett and Ashley Streets, will also help the Waimakariri StJohn Area Committee deliver community and youth programmes, keep its health shuttle on the road, and provide its volunteer caring-caller service for those who live alone or who are lonely.

Opening day speech . . . St John Waimakariri Area Committee chairman Warwick Kirwan, centre, speaks to the crowd during the opening ceremony.

South Island retail manager Steve McLean says community and volunteer support for the venture has been overwhelming.

“It is all about fundraising, because that is how we continue to operate. Not everyone knows that ambulances are only part-funded,” he says.

“There is a considerable shortfall and through other fundraising and the op shop we can generate income.”

It also provides a cost-effective way for people in the community to buy goods which were getting a second life.

“Post Covid, we have been told to keep it local. This is a great way to keep it local and it goes back to the community through health programmes and our volunteers.”

A crowd watched Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon, and shop manager Jewels O’Hare cut the ribbon to declare the shop open.

Mr Gordon said the district was lucky to have St John and volunteers providing front-line medical response and community programmes.

“As a community we couldn’t function without the time you freely give. Your service makes a huge difference to our community and we are in debt to you for your generosity.”

The building, owned by Alec and Helen Doig, was previously occupied by Hammer Hardware. When the business closed, the Doigs earthquake-strengthen the building before letting it again.

Waimakariri St John Area Committee chairman Warwick Kirwan said St John was grateful to the Doigs for choosing to retain the building when the easier option would

Bargain-hunting … Vinyl collector and “op-shop addict”, Andy Lukey, From Christchurch, checks out the records on opening day.

have been not to do so. “They have done a fantastic job,” he said.

Many queued in Blackett St for the doors to open at 10am. First in the queue was vinyl collector and op-shop devotee Andy Lukey, from Christchurch, who was keen to get first look at the records on offer, to add to his collection.

A former Hammer Hardware worker, Buzz Purkis, also joined the crowd to view the stock.

“I reckon they have done a bloody good job of it,” Buzz said.