Even half a century ago, Warwick Academy was finding creative, innovative ways of raising money for school funds.

In 1956 Lady Eileen Sharpe (wife of former Premier Jack Sharpe), Pamela Kempe and their friends started the ‘Warwick Academy Clothing Mart’.


The popular bric-a-brac and clothing market began as a school uniform sale, where parents could sell on old uniforms with a percentage of each sale going to school funds.

These days it sells everything from clothing to household appliances.

“We take clothing for men, women and children, shoes, household appliances and linens, glassware, toys, books, everything except for large furniture,” said Lynne Fisher, of the Clothing Mart committee.

Ms Fisher, of Southampton, first got involved with the market 44 years ago in the late 1960s when her eldest child Michael was six years old. All five of her children attended Warwick Academy.

“It has been a labour of love doing the Clothing Mart,” she said.

The Clothing Mart used to take place twice a year, in October and March, for three weeks at a time.

From 2012 it has become an annual market due to the school’s many extracurricular activities at the Phoebe Purvis Memorial Hall, making the venue no longer available for lengthy periods.

This year’s event took place from February 15-19, staffed by volunteers. It concluded with a half-price sale on the Saturday and a $3-a-bag sale on the Sunday.

People across the island rummage through their attics, drawers and closets to find unwanted items in good condition to take to the Clothing Mart.

They each make up a ‘consignment’, whereby everything is numbered and labelled ready for the sale. It is then dropped off at the school and anything which isn’t sold is then returned to the owner.

The school takes 40 per cent of the proceeds of sales and the owner gets 60 per cent.

“It is quite popular, as people get something back,” said Ms Fisher.

The money raised runs into thousands every year. The proceeds are then spent on whatever items the school needs at the time.

“As a committee we decide how to allocate money to specific items,” she said.

“We have allocated money for all sorts of things through the years, such as the swimming pool, picnic benches, curtains for the stage and furnishings for Reception.”