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Members of the Grafton Hospital Auxiliary were joined by Clarence Valley Council Mayor Jim Simmons along with other local dignitaries at the official opening of the new Auxiliary Op Shop on May 1. Image: Emma Pritchard.

Opening the doors to a new beginning

Emma Pritchard

It all began when Alba Linklater had a vision to open an op shop at Grafton Base Hospital to allow the Grafton Hospital Auxiliary (GHA) to sell second-hand treasures and raise money to purchase much needed medical equipment.

After persuading Clarence Health Services General Manager Dan Madden to help bring her vision to life, a successful op shop opened and operated on the hospital grounds for the next several years.  

And then, the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Forced to close the doors of their beloved op shop, the dedicated members of the GHA started searching for a new location to reopen in once Covid-19 restrictions began easing. Earlier this year they found one, and on May 1, the doors to the brand-new Auxiliary Op Shop officially opened to the community.

As she welcomed an enthusiastic group of customers and local dignitaries including Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons, local councillor Richie Williamson and Mr Madden to the new premises over the weekend, GHA Vice President Jan Gillett thanked the members for their hard work in preparing the shop, the local community for their generous donations and Mrs Linklater for “her dream of having an op shop.”

“The money we raise helps our local hospital to purchase necessary equipment and we’re all so happy that the op shop is open again,” she said.

“We just hope we can keep supplying the hospital with what we make here.”

The GHA has raised over $300000 in the past five years to help Grafton Base Hospital purchase equipment for medical purposes and to assist staff on their daily rounds. Mrs. Linklater also attended the official opening alongside her daughter Kerrie DiMattia. Ms. DiMattia is currently an acting Vice President of the GHA and said she was “super proud” of her mother for having the vision to start the op shop.

“It has raised quite a large sum of money through community support, and it’s extra meaningful to be involved and help carry on mum’s vision,” she said.

The Auxiliary Op Shop is located at 97/101 Prince Street, Grafton, next to the Saraton Theatre.

Opening hours are 9:30am – 3:30pm, Tuesday to Friday and 9:30am – 12:30pm on Saturdays.

The GHA also wish to thank Anthea Todd and the Notaras family for their kind assistance in helping them secure their new premises.

  • The GHA currently have a six-month lease on the premises in Prince Street with the location also utilised by the Jacaranda Festival Committee for several weeks each year. Julie Smith, publicity officer for the GHA said a long-term decision will be made over the next few months.