YBridge_OpShop-18Clive Bashford lived in a quiet pocket of Toowoomba where he liked to keep his house spick and span.

He kept dusted vases of artificial flowers, neat displays of tended ornaments and well-polished furniture. Amongst the order, you could spy treasures and mementos collected during his lifelong love affair with travel. He once quipped to a friend that his wanderlust spirit was the reason he never married.

At 77, his mind and wit was still sharp however his failing health impelled him to leave his home of almost 30 years and move into residential care. In a final gesture that underlines his humble yet generous character, Clive decided to gather up all his lifetime possessions and donate them to local, not-for-profit organisation, YellowBridge QLD, to be used to help others less fortunate than him.YBridge_OpShop-26

YellowBridge was so touched by Clive’s generosity that it inspired them to create Toowoomba’s newest social enterprise, Collectables, featuring a boutique op-shop, men’s shed and community activity space in Station Street (opposite The Sauce Kitchen). The purpose of Collectables is to help people with a disability gain employment, access work experience and learn new skills. All proceeds from the op-shop will be reinvested into the enterprise to support this mission.

Clive’s close friends, Margaret and John Kruger, were not surprised by his generous act. “He was a humble and private man but also very neighbourly,” Margaret said. “He always returned from his travels with a small gift for us, it is just what he did. One year he went all the way to Lapland at the top of Finland to deliver our grandchildren’s letter to Santa. They were so thrilled when they received a letter from Santa in reply,” she said. “He would come to our house every Friday for morning tea. Every week he turned up with roses and lemons from his garden and every fortnight he would bring a cake.”

Both Clive and John worked as bankers for more than 30 years for the National Australia Bank, travelling around Queensland to fill relief positions. They have been firm friends ever since. “He was very curious about people and places,” John said, “and we would talk for hours about politics and life. He was a very interesting person to talk with.”

Clive enjoyed tinkering in his shed and making various items of furniture. His vast assortment of tools and equipment will be used in the Collectables men’s shed so members can also experience the pleasure of making something with their own hands.

Collectables will be officially opened on June 7 by local member Coralee O’Rourke. Missing from the important occasion will be Clive himself who sadly passed away in November. Fortunately, his legacy will be on display for all to see and celebrate.

Words by Heather Smith | Images by Andrew Coates, Salt Studios