Vollies take the cake: Some of CanShop Queenstown’s dedicated volunteers — from left, Betty Hanan, Rosemary Chin, Vivienne Hunt, Eva Boyer and Sandra Fennell — celebrating the store’s 10th birthday

An entirely voluntary-run Queenstown op shop has raised more than $1.5 million to support the local Cancer Society over the past 10 years.

CanShop Queenstown, which celebrated the milestone last month, was established at Remarkables Park, with no budget but heaps of passion, through the efforts of Betty Hanan, Jessica Staniland, Britta Taylor and the Cancer Society’s Marie Wales.

‘‘The four of us went from shop to shop around Remarkables Park and Queenstown, and the generosity of some of the stores was overwhelming,’’ says Hanan, who’s managed the accounts from day one.

‘‘Our fixtures and goods are of such high quality, we really don’t look like your typical op shop.’’

Clothing and accessories were also donated by the wider community.

Nicola Coom, Cancer Society’s Otago-Southland chief executive, says ‘‘the funds generated through the CanShop mean we can continue our work in supporting families in the Queenstown region who are impacted by cancer’’.

‘‘The demand for our support in Queenstown has increased by 42% over the last two years, so revenue streams like the CanShop are needed more than ever.’’

The volunteer team of 48 spends up to 120 hours a week sorting, cleaning, pricing, promoting and selling the merchandise.

Wales says many of the vollies have a deep personal connection to cancer, while others simply want to give back to the community.

The shop has gained quite a reputation for its quality bargains.

‘‘We have a great bunch of regular customers as well as returning customers from all over New Zealand and even Australia,’’ Hanan says.

‘‘Through word of mouth, we also get people coming in straight from the airport — they’ve heard about the famous CanShop.’’

Wales says they’re also very lucky to have a very generous community behind them.

Coom adds: ‘‘This is such a successful model we are currently looking at how we might replicate it in other areas throughout the South Island.’’

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