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FirstHealth of the Carolinas
Pottery Plus Auction 2008 By Dick Broom
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Plenty of surprises are always in store for the annual Pottery Plus Auction, but there is always one constant:. The quality of the pottery.

“The pottery seems to get better every year,” says Karen Chamberlain, chair of the planning committee for the 2008 Pottery Plus Auction, which supports the services of FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care.

The auction, featuring the work of some of the Sandhills area’s most outstanding potters, will be held Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst. It is the FirstHealth Hospice Foundation’s major fundraising event of the year.

If pottery isn’t your thing, what about four Duke-Carolina men’s basketball tickets, a lobster dinner for 10, a weekend at the Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill or a resort vacation on Grand Cayman Island? Those are among the “plus” items that will be up for bid at the Pottery Plus event, which includes both live and silent auctions.

This year’s fundraiser—the 13th annual Pottery Plus Auction—will have something of an international flavor, with a number of auction items from around the world that have been donated by various friends of Hospice.

“For example, we have an antique, six-panel Japanese floor screen with a beautiful landscape scene depicted in ink on paper, as well as a small rosewood Chinese stand with a marble top,” says Ellen Jordan, who has coordinated the acquisition of items for the live auction.

A highlight of the auction will be the bidding on a piece of pottery selected as the Chairman’s Choice. It was made by Seagrove potter Daniel Johnston. (See the accompanying story.) A bean pot by Seagrove pottery icon Ben Owen Sr. is also expected to foster spirited competition among bidders.

Other auction items that are likely to fetch healthy sums for the Hospice Foundation include two four-day passes to the 2009 U.S. Open Golf Championship at Bethpage State Park in New York, paintings by local artists Jessie Mackay and Fay Terry, catered gourmet dinners for 10, and the use of vacation homes at Holden Beach and Cedar Key, Fla.

The Grand Cayman Island vacation is a week-long stay for up to six people at the luxurious Discovery Point Club on Seven Mile Beach.

The four Duke-Carolina basketball tickets are for the game next winter in Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. The winning bidder will also receive four gift certificates for dinner before the game at the award-winning Magnolia Grill in Durham.

“We had the Duke-Carolina tickets and the Magnolia Grill dinners in the auction last year, and they sold for quite a good price,” Jordan says.

The 438 people who attended last year’s Pottery Plus Auction helped raise more than $137,000 for the Hospice Foundation.

“There are so many people in this community who feel so passionate about Hospice that they come to the auction year after year,” Chamberlain says. “But we always see a lot of new faces, too, which is wonderful.

“I think the potters who donate items for the auction are as committed to Hospice as the volunteers who work on the event. Like so many other people in this area, a number of the potters have been personally touched by Hospice. It is one of those causes that affect nearly everyone.”

FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care offers a wide array of services for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families that continue for as long as the family needs help coping with the loss. The Hospice staff includes nurses, nurses’ aides, social workers, grief counselors, a chaplain and administrative personnel. A corps of more than 100 compassionate, committed volunteers provides vital support.

Most Hospice visits are to patient homes, but the Hospice staff and volunteers also see patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Hospice’s plans include a residential Hospice House that will be located away from the main Moore Regional Hospital campus on a multi-acre site on Highway 15/501 in Pinehurst. Groundbreaking is planned for this winter.

Proceeds from this year’s Pottery Plus Auction will help support the construction of the new Hospice House, as well as support the direct care, counseling and support services of FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care.

Tickets to the Pottery Plus Auction, which includes hors d’oeuvres and beverages, are $50 each. For more information, call the Foundation of FirstHealth at (910) 695-7500.