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Record-breaking Perth fundraiser

This year's Bindaring Clothing Sale in Perth raised a whopping $150,000 for Red Cross

Tuesday May 17, 2016

Shoppers at Perth's Bindaring Clothing Sale head home laden with fashionable finds.

Crowds swelled as the clock counted down to 9am, and by the time the doors flew open almost a thousand people stood in winding queues, poised in readiness for the shopping frenzy to begin.

They had flocked to the 53rd annualĀ Bindaring Clothing Sale in Perth, the single biggest branch fundraising event for Australian Red Cross, and by day's end they had broken all previous records.

"The atmosphere was contagious, full of excitement and anticipation, with so many people wondering what they would find through the day," says Caroline Arundell, Vice President of the Bindaring Red Cross Branch.

"The first half hour was pretty frantic with everybody scrambling to find the best deals. It's competitive, you have to stake your ground. But as the day drew on, it grew into a really lovely, carnival atmosphere."

More than just money

Over 3,000 people made their way to Perth's Claremont Showground on Saturday under blue skies and sparkling sunshine to shop for pre-loved clothing. They spent a whopping $150,000 - the largest sum ever raised in a single Red Cross branch fundraising event - which will go towards supporting Red Cross' vital everyday work.

"It's not just about the money though," Caroline says. "What keeps me involved are all the other benefits that come with the event.

"It offers people without much money the chance to buy great clothes at cheap prices, it ensures all that clothing is recycled and doesn't go to landfill, and it mobilises the whole community and brings so many people together. It really is an incredible event."

Huge community effort

More than 200 people volunteered over many months in preparation for the clothing sale. Apart from the logistics of organising and publicising such a large event, they also sorted around eight tonnes of clothes, shoes and jewellery.

Organisers collected stock via a massive clothing drive, supported by local schools, Red Cross members and clothing retailers - several boutique stores donated high-end fashion items, which were sold in a silent auction.

"We're hugely grateful for the work all our volunteers do. It wouldn't happen without them," Caroline says. "We're also hugely grateful to our donors because having great stock is what makes people come back year after year."

The market day has grown in fame over the past few years and there were plenty of fresh faces at this year's sale, Caroline says, "along with a good solid body of regulars who've been coming for years".

Inspiring heritage

Reflecting on her own involvement with the event, she says, "It's really rewarding. There's an amazing cross-generational group of volunteers, and the women who started it all are so inspiring."

The event began 53 years ago with a garage sale on Bindaring Parade that raised 50 pounds. "Yes, it was pounds in those days," Caroline says.

Three of the women who organised that first sale are still involved, and volunteered at this year's event. Caroline says the sale's recent success is a testament to their ongoing vision and hard work. "It's thanks to them that we now have this incredible event."