Confessions of a Jumbler

Posted on 2nd September 2021

Below is a reflection written by a member of GXCA about the biggest event held by GXCA; this clearly encompasses the ethos of the Gerrards Cross Community Association.

This is the Annual Jumble Sale, which has been running for about thirty years!  This event is the biggest event, not only for GXCA, but quite possibly the biggest Jumble sale in England and dubbed The Glastonbury of Jumble Sales!  Throughout the year, residents bring no longer needed items to the Centre which are stored in one of six sheds.  Two volunteers, Fiona and Jude, spend literally months sorting and boxing and labelling these items.

The week before the jumble, marquees go up and the tables are delivered.  On the week of the jumble, approximately 60-80 volunteers turn up on the Monday morning, help to put up tables, and start emptying the sheds. These fantastic people range from 18 years to 80 years, some pop in for a morning, and some are there all week.  The shed emptying takes three days of hard physical labour, trolleying boxes to various ‘stations’ within the Centre to be further sorted into ladies, gents, shoes, children, linen, toys bric-a-brac, books, hardware and furniture.  Large items including furniture is collected by a van from local houses by other volunteers.  The local auctioneer, Hugo, pops in on Thursday to check stock for donated old masters and jewels. Over the week more than 500 bowls of soup and sandwiches are made, much needed teas and coffee are provided, by yet more volunteers, for the hungry volunteer stall helpers.  On the two days of the jumble a BBQ serving sizzling, locally sourced, veggie and meat burgers and sausages is organised, by yet another bunch of volunteers, for the jumble buyers.

There is laughter, some frustration but a huge sense of togetherness and community

On Friday morning the jumblers arrive as early as 7.30am and start to queue snaking around the carpark, chattering and laughing as the queue gets longer and longer. At 10am the gates open, and 850 adults, plus children, pour through the gates, and a further 700 on Saturday.  Jumblers come from as far afield as London, Brighton, Bath and Manchester, plus the surrounding counties for this event.. 

On Friday the Jumble sale runs from 10am to 2pm, and Saturday from 10am to 1pm.  In Colston Hall the Ladieswear Section sells knitwear, from 40p each or 3 for a £1, blouses, belts, boots and bags, a bargain at a £1. Coats and Jackets £3 each and on the ‘Stage” designer donations are sold for a little more. The Garden Room becomes a library of books, alphabetically ordered, fiction, nonfiction, ephemera, art to zoology. Pictures and paintings sell like hot cakes, and candles are aglow!

The staff of GXCA spend weeks advertising, organising the hire of marquees and allocating and directing the rabble of volunteer helpers!  They are tremendous! 

Doors open when the bell tolls at 10am Friday 24th September – and the scrabble for bargains begins!