Mark donates parents’ treasures to help others

PARTING GIFT: John and Valda Winn’s lifetime treasures have been donated to Collectables to help others.

Mark Winn’s parents were avid readers and collectors so when they passed away he was at a loss with what to do with their worldly treasures.

Long-time Crows Nest residents, John and Valda Winn, had amassed a remarkable collection during their 51-year marriage including pottery, art, sculptures and fine china.

“My parents appreciated books, art and craft. Mum especially liked copper pots and ceramics,” Mark said.

“My dad was a teacher and administrator at Toowoomba Grammar School for over 50 years, had authored about 30 books and publications, and was heavily involved in the TGS Art Show. They had many interests and that was evident in their wide range of collectables.”

Mark was faced with the daunting prospect of clearing out his parents’ home filled with a life-time of memories when the kindness of neighbours and a local charity shop came to the rescue.

Over a cup of tea, his parents’ neighbours of 20 years, Ron and Leona Rolfe, mentioned their connection to boutique op shop, Collectables, which provides work and training opportunities for people with a disability in Toowoomba.

Leona was a volunteer at the shop and her daughter was a disability support worker with the organisation that operated the social enterprise, YellowBridge QLD.

“We immediately knew it was the right place to donate our parents’ collection to,” Mark said.

“It makes us very happy knowing they can be used again and someone will enjoy them.”

“If it weren’t for Collectables, unfortunately many of the items would have gone to the dump and that would have been a great shame.”

“Our parents’ neighbours were enormously helpful, helping us clean, sort and deliver the wrapped items to Collectables. We would have been lost without them,” he said.

In a happy coincidence, Mark discovered the founder of YellowBridge was the same man he raised money for 35 years ago by completing a round trip from Toowoomba to Rockhampton on his bicycle to earn his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

“I still have the newspaper clipping of me with Des Orr all those years ago. When I realised the connection, I was very surprised and moved. I guess it was meant to be.”

“My parents were very community-minded so I am certain they would be pleased their treasures have been donated to a place like Collectables that helps others.”

Mark Winn with Des Orr in 1984
Leona Rolfe with some of John and Valda's donated items.
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