Final ovation for book sale’s convener

2019-09-03 06:01
Clive Obery, Viginia Bird, Gerald and Tammy Weinberg and Thalia Hock from Woodside Special Care Centre at this year’s Charity Book Sale at Cavendish Square.PHOTO: Nettalie Viljoen

Clive Obery, Viginia Bird, Gerald and Tammy Weinberg and Thalia Hock from Woodside Special Care Centre at this year’s Charity Book Sale at Cavendish Square.PHOTO: Nettalie Viljoen

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At first glance, most book lovers would think it was business as usual at this year’s 21st instalment of the Charity Book Sale held at Cavendish Square. But there was one key ingredient missing: Beverley Whelehan.

For 20 years, Beverley was the wizard behind the curtain, the convener who made sure the book sale ran smoothly. Sadly, she passed away from colon cancer last year on 23 September. She was 67 years old.

“Beverley was convinced she would get better,” says her sister Shirley Gray from Simon’s Town. “At last year’s book sale, she was still rolling around in her wheelchair, asking the charities if there was anything they needed.”

Shirley says Beverley believed she would be able to organise this year’s book sale as well.

“When it came to planning the event, everything was in her head. What to do and how to do it. It was only towards the end that she spoke to us about what needed to be done. We would sit with her and, on the days that she could, she would give us a list of things to do. Our sister, Rosalie (Jack), agreed to take over the ropes.”

Rosalie, a full-time estate agent, says it was important for her to keep Beverley’s legacy alive.

“She was so passionate about her work. The charities were on her mind until the last. She kept on saying, ‘Please don’t let them down’,” says Rosalie.

The good Beverley has done through the years is immeasurable. Clive Obery of Woodside Special Care Centre describes her as an amazing woman. The centre has participated in the book sale since the very beginning.

“We raise a significant amount of money for our organisation at the book sale. The shoppers who buy books from our stall are so supportive. They never haggle over prices. And our donors are just incredible. This year Jonathan Ball Publishers gave us eight crates of brand new books to sell,” says Obery.

Nicky Antonie of Goedgedacht’s Help the Rural Child charity shops says the book sale is also one of its most important fundraising events. The organisation has also been part of the book sale from the start.

“People don’t always have money to give, but they have second-hand books or old clothing and furniture. We can resell these items,” says Antonie.

The charities aren’t the only ones who walk away from the book sale happy. With the price of books starting at R20, bookworms can stock up on reading material for the whole year at a fraction of the price charged at book stores.

This year’s book sale, held from 29 August to 1 September, again attracted a huge number of bibliophiles.

A shopper seen browsing at the book sale, Alexis van den Brock, says she is always on the hunt for good books at affordable prices. “Books at stores can be very expensive. I don’t have the cash for that. Here I can buy great books at even better prices. And it is for a good cause,” she says.

Joshua Conyngham, a student living in Claremont, heard about the book sale from a friend. “I am originally from Durban and didn’t know about the sale. I decided to come and have a look and I am pleasantly surprised. The range of fiction and non-fiction books are impressive. And the prices are great. I’ll be back next year,” he says.

The book sale is one of Cavendish Square’s most anticipated calendar events.

Faizah Behardien, centre manager at Cavendish Square says: “As a brand, we are extremely grateful for a partnership of this stature, where we have the honour of facilitating an event where 20 charities can benefit from second-hand book sale proceeds to champion their cause. It is too aligned with our brand strategy of conscious – conscious about not only the environment but our people and their causes.”

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