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Wallets open in support of Handbags for Hospice event

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
A fine selection of high-end handbags was the focus at the Highline Hall in Wellington Wednesday evening as Hospice Prince Edward raised funds in its inaugural Handbags for Hospice event.

Local artists Terry Culbert, left, and Aidan Haley with Debra Vincent’s live-auction painting ‘The Journey of Love’.

Among designer labels, the event also featured a County twist with a few hand-painted handbags by County artists that went up for auction. Three local artists also brought their easels and live-painted as the night progressed. Artists Aidan Haley, Terry Culbert and Debra Vincentach also brought a painting to be auctioned, and chatted with guests. Haley and Culbert are well-known local celebrities in the art community, and Vincent is a Bear Clan member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.

Culbert’s love for Hospice connects back to his wife and local artist, Barbara Högenauer.

“She spent 20 years as a volunteer with Hospice in Durham region, and then when we lived on Amherst Island, she went to Kingston as a bereavement counsellor,” Culbert explained, noting that is how that is how he found out about Hospice and what it does. “I think it’s such a worthwhile cause, it really is.”

The evening also included paper purses, hair streaking, a cork draw, a fun heads and tails game, and a silent auction. Tiny paper purses could be purchased for $20 and contained an item of jewellery made by a local artist.

After attendees enjoyed welcome drinks, appetizers, a candy station, dessert and a cash bar, it was time for Lauren, the Auctionista, hosting the live auction segment of the evening – but not before playing the heads and tails ice-breaker game. For $25, participants could volunteer to play the game, where the last person standing won a trip package to Toronto.

There were eight live auction items consisting of designer handbags, an Ottawa trip package (which sold for $650), an Angelo Bean pasta cooking class for six people (sold for $300), and several pieces of art, including Aiden Haley’s The Four Seasons which sold for $450, Terry Culbert’s Bear Family Christmas that went for $50, and a piece by Debra Vincent, entitled The Journey of Love, inspired by the evening’s event, received a bid of $150.

Good deals were to be had as a Louis Vuitton purse, donated anonymously, went for $400, a small black leather handbag, hand-painted with vibrant flowers by local artist Celia Sage, sold for $100, and a Coach handbag was snapped up for $200. Silent auction items included purses by designers Kate Spade, Nine West, Patricia Nash, Chiarugi, Mary Frances and Calvin Klein, among many others.

“It’s been such a fun journey to do this event,” said Ingrid Davis, Hospice volunteer and one of the event organizers.

The final tally of monies raised during the inaugural Handbags for Hospice fundraiser was not immediately available, but is expected to be announced soon.

This year, to date, Hospice Prince Edward has provided care for 41 clients in the Downes Avenue, Picton residence, together with providing more than 1,000 volunteer hours of support out in the community.

Hospice Prince Edward’s mission is to provide quality of life, dignity in death, and grief and bereavement support for all those living with or affected by a life-limiting illness.

Approximately 22 per cent of Hospice’s funding comes from the South East Local Health Integration Network. This funding goes to pay for the health service provider clinical staff. The other 78 per cent of the funding comes from the Hospice Prince Edward Foundation that relies entirely on donations and fundraising.

Services provided by Hospice Prince Edward are offered free of charge to the public. For further information, visit

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