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Rotary Penny Sale draws interest from near and far

When Rotarian Scott Haines learned Gail Sprague and Karen Bachelder drove more than 70 miles from Milford to attend the 67th Annual Bristol Rotary Penny Sale last Thursday night, he took a few minutes to show them some of the great prizes available in Round 1 of the event. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
August 14, 2019
BRISTOL The 67th Annual Bristol Rotary Club Penny Sale was supported this year by not just the immediate community, but by people from all over who were also hoping to win prizes in support of a worthy cause.

Each year, the money raised by the Rotary Penny Sale provides funds for educational scholarships that benefit graduating seniors from Newfound Regional High School. Many of those recipients are grateful enough to come back time and time again to help raise more funds for future graduates of NRHS.

Bristol Rotarian Scott Haines and his wife Mary Kay know firsthand how much that scholarship can mean to a college-bound student. Their daughter Sandra was the 1996 recipient of a Rotary Scholarship and went on to have a successful career as a result of that financial backing.

"She became an MRI tech and is now the Chief Technician for Concord Hospital," said Mary Kay. "It goes to show that all of this money raised here tonight goes to a good cause."

Not only that, but many grateful students and graduates like her daughter, still support the Penny Sale every year, helping with set up, ticket drawings, prize dispersal, clean up or whatever else is needed to make the night run smoothly.

"These are all awesome kids we are doing it for," she said.

This year's prize selections included sporting goods, household décor, art, tools, gift cards and many other items donated by generous local businesses and community partners. Participants purchased tickets for each of three rounds of multiple prize drawings then sat back and hoped to hear their ticket numbers called. In the meantime there were refreshments available and still more tables filled with great items donated toward a special silent auction. At the end of the night all ticket holders were encouraged to stick around as every ticket was placed back in the drum for a chance at one of six Grand Prizes. This year those included a newly built wooden picnic table for the backyard, a mountain bike, 125 gallons of heating fuel, 100 scratch tickets, dinner for two at Bristol House of Pizza and a total of four cash awards amounting to $350.

As people made their way into the gymnasium at NRHS last Thursday evening, two women drove 70 miles from Milford all the way up from Milford because they didn't want to miss out on all the fun and winning. Karen Batchelder was joined by her friend Gail Sprague, and both said they couldn't resist a penny sale for a good cause. Both had childhood memories of days spent on Newfound Lake and since Sprague has a camp on nearby Paugus Bay in Laconia, they decided it would be a great adventure.

"We had no idea they had something like this up here until we saw it on Facebook," the women said. "We came up early to have dinner at the Big Catch and look around, and we've been reminiscing all afternoon about things from 50 years back."

Both were certain they would leave as lucky winners that night and looked forward to the event.

And while summer visitors and people from nearby towns also showed up to enjoy the evening, it was local residents of the school district who came out in full force to take part in a fun and long-standing tradition in their community that supports local youth.

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