The Book Fair’s final chapter

Book Fair has been a big part of Philippa’s lifeBook Fair has been a big part of Philippa’s life

The time is early 2008 when Philippa Manton receives an invitation to assist with the RIDBC Book Fair. Fast forward 11 years and Philippa hasn’t missed one since, a remarkable contribution as a volunteer of RIDBC. The contribution is even more significant given this is the 31st, and final, Book Fair. Of her experience she explains “To be involved in something that shares the value of books has been marvellous”.

When questioned about the reason for volunteering Philippa holds back tears as she recalls the beautiful memories she has experienced with RIDBC and the benefit of giving her time: “I do it for the children and for the love of books. Seeing the children perform at the [annual volunteer] lunch hits home the difference made [by RIDBC]. The run down that we get from Chris [Rehn] is just brilliant.”

Quite simply the Book Fair has been a big part of Philippa’s life and many others who have dedicated time and expertise to build it into what is today. Philippa is one of a team of seven other people who have volunteered for the 2019 Book Fair, working every Monday for almost a year to see the success across the four days. “People are usually amazed at the effort put in, and hard work of the team”, she says. It is this collaboration, and the subsequent friendships created, that will be cherished most. And as the raw emotions increase as the end draws near Philippa is philosophical in recognising “It’s time. We’ve had a good run”.

When speaking with Philippa it is her humility that shines most, quick to praise and recall the efforts of others who have contributed, including the “amazing generosity of the public” for the donated books; the Corporate Volunteers from Commonwealth Bank, Mood Media, Standard Chartered Bank and Westpac; and last, but certainly not least, RIDBC Volunteer Coordinator Rochelle Pincini who she describes as “a dynamo, just a fantastic person”.

Equally, Rochelle is complimentary of Philippa - “Our volunteers offer an enormous contribution to RIDBC. They are such wonderful people and we are the beneficiaries of their involvement. Philippa’s knowledge, dedication and hard work has helped to shape and evolve the Book Fair into what it is today, and she should be proud of everything she has achieved in the last 11 years. We can’t thank her enough.”

For someone with a deep passion for reading it seems fitting, if not inevitable, that Philippa would be contributing to the improvement of children’s literacy during retirement “Literacy is so important” she explains, “I have read to my grandchildren since the day they were born, they are avid readers”.

And the good news for RIDBC – as one of Philippa’s chapters finishes another one starts - she hopes to continue as a volunteer with RIDBC in some capacity. So do we!

For volunteer opportunities at RIDBC please click here.

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