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The Barn celebrates 50 years of operations

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Far from its origins as a rummage sale, the Barn is set to celebrate 50 years of fundraising next weekend.

Jane Jackson, who has worked at the Barn for more than 35 years, recalled it first opened on April 4, 1964 as a sale for second-hand items on the Paget property of Sir Henry and Lady Tucker on South Road.

“They had a Christmas fair for the hospital and Lady Tucker had the white elephant stall at her barn,” she said. “One year, they decided they just had so much stuff there, they had a rummage sale before the fair and did exceedingly well, to the point where they decided to carry on with it.”

The operation did run into difficulties — with Lady Tucker reportedly raiding her own home on occasions when the shelves became sparse — but the business continued to grow, eventually outgrowing the Barn altogether.

“The Barn was just held together by termites and after Sir Henry passed they decided it was time to do something about it,” Ms Jackson said. “They discussed it with Government and various people and we got this chunk of land here (opposite the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute on Devon Spring Road in Devonshire), and they built what I call Barn number two.”

A prefabricated building was erected on the property at a cost of $70,000 and opened in September, 1986. The facility expanded again in 2002 with a new, larger facility on the site.

However, several artefacts from the original Barn remain, including a tall, pink circular display table, a pink china cabinet and a few pink tables on which books used to be displayed.

“It's just got bigger, that's all,” Ms Jackson said. “We've always sold books, we've always sold bric-a-brac. We've sold everything. When my mother was here, she sold a refrigerator and a boat.

She said the only thing that hadn't come through the Barn was a coffin.”

Asked what the strangest item that has come through the Barn, she quickly responded: “A cow. A live cow. We found it tied up to the electric light pole at Barn number two, and we didn't know why someone had donated this cow.

“We were thankfully able to find someone to take it off our hands. We didn't charge them for that.”

Assistant manager Grace Petty said in the two-and-a-half years she has worked at the Barn, the donation of a large, carved boar takes the top prize.

“It was probably three or four feet long and two, two and a half feet high,” she said. “It came from Africa and it was beautifully done but ... it was definitely a conversation piece.

“They say that given enough time, eventually whatever you are looking for will come into the Barn. In the two and a half years that I have been here, I can definitely say that is true. Wait long enough and you will receive.”

Over the years, the Barn has raised an impressive sum for the Hospital's Auxiliary and, in turn, the hospital itself. The Barn raised a total of $43,000 in its first six years of operation and crossed the $1 million mark by 1989.

In recent years, the funds raised through the Barn have gone towards life-saving equipment for the hospital, including a radiant warmer for newborns, ventilators, dialysis machines and a diagnostic imaging machine.

Ms Grace said: “For me, it's a very worthwhile contribution. It's a good feeling to know that you've contributed to something that will help everyone. All races, all creeds, all ages. It's a universal donation.”

Ms Jackson added: “It's win-win-win. The hospital benefits, people get to empty out their closets and people get to fill their closets. It's just a great example of recycling.”

Jane Jackson, is shown outside the second-had store The Barn, located on Devon Spring Road.
The Barn is set to celebrate 50 years of fundraising next weekend (photo by Glenn Tucker)

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Published March 26, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 26, 2014 at 12:28 am)

The Barn celebrates 50 years of operations

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