Cowell op shop celebrates 40th | PHOTOS

Fashions of Cowell were on show at the local Uniting Church hall on Wednesday as the church marked the 40th birthday of its community op shop.

About 45 volunteers and representatives from neighbouring churches gathered at the hall to mark the occasion.

The Cowell Op Shop was the brainchild of local Edna Ramsey, who decided the town needed an op shop after visiting a newly set up store in Port Broughton in 1978.

In December 1979, the store first opened in the Sunday School hall which had been vacated for the summer.

After a successful first summer, it was moved to a more permanent home and is now open four days a week on the main street.

Over the years the shop has been a place for community members to gather and meet new people, while giving those with a passion for shopping a chance to do so in town.

At the event, volunteers through the years reminisced about their times in the shop watching locals and visitors come through buying outfits for school dress-ups or special occasions, including one bride who found her wedding dress in the shop.

Over the years, the store has also made thousands of donations of excess clothing, money and other items to various charitable organisations including the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society, Royal Flying Doctor Service, the local school, the local parish and more.

To this day the church donates approximately 20,000 to 25,000 items a year.

Models Bethany Churchett, Sue Story, Annette Brine and Judy Francis provided entertainment at the birthday celebration as the models for the fashion parade.

The four women fashioned outfits for a variety of occasions from current clothing available from the op shop, from formal dresses to beach wear.

Judy Francis had the room in the palm of her hand with her humourous modelling style and elaborate outfits.

Following the parade, Meryl Schultz and Dianne Dunn were invited to cut the cake to honour their mothers' involvement in the early days of the store before the guests enjoyed an afternoon tea.