Dardanup priest is left gnomeless

Headshot of Nicolette Barbas
Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
Father Wayne Bendotti was pleased to have raised more than $1000 in a recent plant sale he hosted.
Camera IconFather Wayne Bendotti was pleased to have raised more than $1000 in a recent plant sale he hosted. Credit: Nicolette Barbas

A South West priest is praying for the return of his two favourite gnomes which were taken from his home during a recent plant sale fundraiser.

What started out as a mindfulness exercise during the recent COVID-19 lockdown ended up as a fundraising event for Dardanup priest Father Wayne Bendotti.

“During the five-day lockdown I decided to pot some plants just to fill my days,” Fr Wayne said.

“When I heard the news about the bushfires I thought I might do a little plant sale at my place, so I put a donation box out in the front yard with a big sign and shared it on some community Facebook pages.

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“Soon enough people started commenting saying they had spare plants to drop off and what started out as a little idea with 29 pots unexpectedly saw me hosting a big sale that ran over a few weeks.”

But his efforts to raise $1200 for those affected by the bushfires left him two gnomes and a rose bush down.

“I had some gnomes on the tables as decorations and I think people thought they were part of the plant sale,” Fr Wayne said. “I went into Bunbury earlier that morning and when I got back there were a few plants gone and about $55 in the tin.

“A friend of mine said they came by at about 9.30, bought several plants and left $45 in the tin which had no money in it and said the gnomes were gone at that point, so I think they were stolen which is a bit sad.”

But the priest said the missing gnomes were a small glitch in an otherwise incredibly overwhelming and positive experience.

Funds were donated to the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund.

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