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MSWA Bulletin Winter 2020

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VOLUNTEERING VOLUNTEER

VOLUNTEERING VOLUNTEER UPDATE DAWN BURKE VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR Hello, all. So much has happened since we last chatted. This Bulletin is riding on the coattails of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen restrictions put in place; and many now being removed. It is amazing how so much can happen in such a short period of time. I am looking forward to getting back into the everyday running of our volunteering again, here at MSWA. I know my volunteers will be itching to get back into it too, or maybe you have enjoyed the break and the slowing down of the everyday pace. I know I have. Because I am lucky enough to have two roles at MSWA, I have worked from home for a couple of days and have been privileged to continue to support our Members and Clients in the community. It was great to keep doing what I love, even if it looked different than before. All going well, by the time this Bulletin hits the letterboxes, most of our groups will be back at the Outreach Centres and filled with your lovely smiling and bubbly faces. As you will read on the next page, Mary, our lovely Wilson kitchen volunteer who turned 90 last year, decided to hang up her apron for the last time before our kitchen closed in March. Mary will be sorely missed, and we greatly appreciate the service and dedication she has given to MSWA for the past fifteen years. It was National Volunteers Week 18 May until 24 May, which we were unable to celebrate in style with a luncheon as we have done in previous years. The slogan this year was ‘Give a little, change a lot’, which I thought was very fitting. And just because we couldn’t celebrate it in person, doesn’t mean you were forgotten. I reached out to all of you during this time and thanked you for the marvellous job that you do for our Customers and staff at MSWA. We may not have been able to see you, but we certainly do appreciate you and thank you for your time and service to the organisation. Many a holiday and other plans went awry during this unusual time. I was meant to be attending a wedding in England via Ireland and Scotland, but alas, I couldn’t go. I just had a different holiday. I walked the ‘Cape to Cape’ for the second time with my brother. I called it the ‘Freakin’ Awesome Cape to Cape Rainbow Tour’. We had rainbows every day, sometimes double rainbows. What a beautiful state we live in.. I look forward to seeing you all soon. If you would like to discuss any volunteering opportunities or have a friend or two who may like to volunteer with us, please give them my details and we can have a chat. volunteer.coordinator@mswa.org.au or 9365 4843. I trust this Bulletin finds you all fit, healthy, well-rested, and ready and raring to go. Take care, keep smiling and bye for now. DAWN BURKE VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR 26

MARY SAYS ‘CHEERIO!’ Six months after celebrating her 90th birthday (pictured below), Mary Cross has announced her retirement, after fifteen years as a volunteer at the MSWA Wilson Outreach group. Mary said, “It feels like the right time.” Mary joined us in 2004. She had no personal connection to MS at the time, but was looking for a new volunteering opportunity. Her granddaughter mentioned that a friend’s mother was volunteering at MSWA. “They’re always needing volunteers,” she told Mary. After an initial interview, Mary started at the weekly Outreach group at our Wilson Service Centre. “I started in the common room, doing the coffee,” recalled Mary. “When a gentleman wanted to take that over, the coordinator suggested I talk to the Members, but I’m not a very good conversationalist! “Then they were short in the kitchen and asked me to help. ‘Ooh yes,’ I said, ‘that’d be great.’” At first, a young student ran the kitchen and Mary helped set up for making the sandwiches. He then left, and Mary was in charge. Every Thursday for fifteen years. “I would catch the bus from home into town, then get another bus to the Wilson Centre. I always had a good day. I would write in my diary every Thursday ‘I had a good day at MSWA.’ MSWA Senior Volunteer Coordinator, Nicola Ryan, and Mary Cross at her 90th Birthday Morning Tea. (October 2019). “MSWA does everything right. It was always so lovely to see the Members come in and have their lunch. Marcus Stafford would often come along and keep us informed of how well everything’s going.” The team at Wilson offered to give Mary a send-off, but she insisted, “I’m not a party person. I don’t want a fuss.” Mary is looking forward to having more free time in her 90s to do the things she enjoys. She goes on outings with her family and is a member of an over-55s walking group. She has twin greatgranddaughters in Sydney who she cherishes: “They keep me in touch with things.” The staff and volunteers we spoke to at MSWA Wilson say they will miss having Mary in the kitchen on Thursdays, working so hard and never seeking recognition. They spoke in admiration of her independent spirit, noting that she never missed a Thursday, even when the Outreach was off-site for 9 months due to renovations. MSWA’s senior volunteer coordinator said, “Nothing ever seems too much trouble for Mary. She is one in a million!” If you would like to know more about becoming a regular volunteer for MSWA, please call 9365 4843 or email volunteer.coordinator@mswa.org.au to discuss the current opportunities available. 27