by Kate Dwyer
STEP inside Ada’s Op Shop in North Haven and you’ll find more than one kind of treasure.
Ada Latham has been revamping pre-loved goods and turning them into cash for over 20 years, with all proceeds going to help the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the Bonny Hills Church of Christ. Not even the rates and power costs for her shop come from the profits - those are taken care of by the 85-year-old wonder.
Ada’s ‘business’ (for wont of a better word) began with garage sales from home to raise funds for the Bonny Hills Church of Christ. She also collected second hand dolls to repair and sell to help the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
Ada and her late husband Clem owned and operated the Jacaranda Caravan park for 25 years. During this time Ada was helping the elderly in the community with shopping and planning outings.
After the caravan park Clem and Ada owned a building in North Haven, let out to two businesses. As the charity side of her life began booming Clem decided it was time for the second-hand clothing to be sold from one of their shop spaces on The Parade when the space became available. Eventually the second shop space became available and Ada expanded to selling second-hand furniture a few years ago.
“I wanted to do something for people,” Ada said simply.
“My husband supported my wish to sell pre-loved clothing and goods. It’s what God put me here for, to help the church and the hospital. I can tell you I never go to bed with a pain or an ache.”
In the last 11 years Ada’s Op Shop has raised around $200,000 which has been split between the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the Bonny Hills Church of Christ. The Children’s Hospital invited Ada to visit on several occasions to see where the funds have been spent. The volunteers are hoping to organise a trip for Ada soon. The Children’s Hospital has sent many certificates in appreciation of Ada’s wonderful and continued support. These adorn the walls of the clothing shop, while the charity bears sent by the hospital are admired then sold in the furniture and bric-a-brac store next door to raise even more funds for the hospital.
As for the church, Ada’s money significantly helped in the construction of the Bonny Hills Church of Christ on Ocean Drive. Future plans for the op shop include donating to local charities as well as the hospital and church.
Ada said she recently tinkered with the idea of slowing down.
“I was thinking about retiring from the shop but my son and daughter wouldn’t let me. This is what I am and this is what I do. I would be lonely without it. I lost Clem three years ago.”
Volunteer Niki Bryan said it would be the handful of volunteers that would run out of energy before Ada did.
While Ada’s Op Shop is raising incredible amounts of money for her charities more volunteers are needed to help the shop open more than the day-and-a-half it is currently.
“We are also desperate for a handy man,” Niki said.
“Someone with a trailer and tow bar who can help with some pick ups and deliveries would be wonderful.”
On Saturday a morning tea will be held at Ada’s Op Shop. People are invited to meet the star of the show, Ada, and discover what work goes on, find a bargain ... and perhaps put up their hand to help out.
Ada’s Op Shop is open every Tuesday afternoon and all day Saturday. In the school holidays the shop is also open Thursday afternoons.
To find out more information or help out please contact Niki Bryan or Geordie Jones in the store.