The Purple Patch in Napier has created a lot of smiles over the past 40 years.

Smiles on the faces of those who receive a beautifully handcrafted item from the colourful shelves, and those who receive financial support from the shop.

And as Purple Patch president Jan Cooper pointed out as the "Happy 40th Birthday" banners went up in the windows, there has been plenty of that since they opened the doors in Napier back in 1979.

"We have given more than $100,000," she said.


They are a non-profit group, so it is a case of after the bills are paid what remains goes to the support of the community.

"We don't get paid for this — we volunteer," Cooper said.

She has been in the president's role for about 10 years, and said devoted volunteers like Bev Jones, Ruth Bryant and Pam Donovan, who had been with them for about 35 years, were truly devoted to the cause.

The cause of being part of the whole creation and selling of remarkable goodies for so many good causes over the decades.

The work of the around 60 Purple Patch members who create the colourful and imaginative array of items on sale from wooden toys and knitted dolls and teddy bears to children's clothing and household goodies has raised funds for a wide range of organisations and appeals through the four decades, Cooper said.

Among the recipients has been St John, the Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Service, Riding for the Disabled, Surf Lifesaving, the Leg-Up Trust, Cranford Hospice, Napier Salvation Army as well as for providing assistance in the wake of earthquake and cyclone impacts.

And that is just a slice of the huge list of recipients who have benefited from Purple Patch.

Purple Patch was founded in 1974 in Hamilton by Elaine Bryant and five years later sparked up in Napier after founding president Helen Lloyd invited representatives of different organisations to hear her suggestion about forming a branch.


The idea was well received and the first shop set up for business in the Colenso Chambers on November 1, 1979.

There has been two change of premises since but the devotion had stayed the same, Cooper said.

"If we can offer support we will."

She said one member of the Patch team summed that up when she and her husband went into the shop one day to buy something, and what she bought was one of the toys her husband made at home.

"Because that way she could give something."