AN ‘absolutely incredible’ milestone has been reached by the Jersey fundraising branch of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, who have now generated more than £500,000 purely by selling books.
The landmark figure was passed on Saturday at St Ouen’s Parish Hall, when the latest sale, which featured local books and a range of titles relating to art, raised £4,240. A number of rare volumes were on sale, as well as many books which are now out of print.
The organisation, which is locally famous for its book sales, said the achievement was the result of dedicated teamwork over nearly three decades.
Ken Syvret, the chairman of the charity’s Jersey branch, said: ‘It really was absolutely incredible to reach this milestone. Thousands of people have been involved over the years, many donating their books and many more coming to buy them.
‘We have been very lucky to have such support from the community and help from a team of loyal volunteers.’
The first sale of second-hand books took place 27 years ago after Mr Syvret suggested the fundraiser, and the October ‘biggest’ book sale has become a highlight of the Island calendar, with upwards of 20,000 titles for sale.
Proceeds from the sales go straight to training guide dogs. The cost of providing a person with their canine companion is now more than £50,000 for the life of the animal. There are currently two working dogs in Jersey, but the number has been as high as eight.
Mr Syvret added: ‘Running the book sales has been a lovely exercise in so many ways. I have met so many lovely people who have a story about why they are donating books or looking for a particular book that means something special to them.
‘Some people come to meet the dogs, some because they like the recycling element. Many come because they simply love books and want to lose themselves for a while at the sale in the hope of unearthing a bargain or a small treasure among the many books we have on sale.’
He said the organisation would like to thank the teams at St Ouen’s Parish Hall and Albert Bartlett for supporting them and allowing the charity to use their venues free of charge.
The annual ‘biggest’ book sale will take place at Albert Bartlett, on Trinity Hill, on 22 and 23 October.