St Vincent de Paul's charity shop in Carterton was formally blessed and opened yesterday afternoon. The store, running out of the former Country Charm antiques building on High St, will contain a support centre and budgeting service. Guests included Paora Ammunson, chairman of Papawai marae and also representing Hurunui o rangi marae.

He said he remembered the support his mother received from the "Vinnies" as a solo mum with five kids after his father died. "St Vincent was where we did a lot of shopping," he said. "The sisters of compassion helped us out when dad passed away. "Our life would have been a lot more complicated without St Vincents."

Father Michael Sweere led around 50 supporters in prayer and song. St Vincent de Paul's national president, Des Mulhern, cut the ribbon to officially open the store. He congratulated the gathering for a "fantastic" refurbishment of the 140-year-old building, now painted in the St Vincent colours of blue and white. Shops like these are the face of St Vincents, he said. "This is the coal face of what we are about. "The layout of your shop, it's right up there at the top. "You've obviously put a lot of thought into it. "It's got that nice warm friendly welcoming feeling - you can be proud of it."

Managing the store will be Barry and Christine Saunders. Donations to the store are welcome, including books, good quality clothes, bric-a-brac and small furniture items.


BLESSING: Father Michael Sweere blesses the new St Vincent de Paul's centre in Carterton yesterday. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK


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