Grafton Meals on Wheels volunteers Gloria Campbell (46 years), Pam Dougherty (34 years), Lorna Smidt (46 years) and Lesley Smith (44 years) at See Park yesterday.
Grafton Meals on Wheels volunteers Gloria Campbell (46 years), Pam Dougherty (34 years), Lorna Smidt (46 years) and Lesley Smith (44 years) at See Park yesterday.

A lifetime of service

MOTHER nature served up a glorious day to celebrate some of the Valley’s brightest rays of sunshine yesterday.

As part of National Volunteer Week commemorations about 40 Grafton Meals and Wheels volunteers gathered at See Park for lunch and an appreciation ceremony.

The most outstanding was Lorna Smidt, who was awarded for her 46 years as a volunteer to the service with a certificate presented by Clarence Valley Council Deputy Mayor Jim Simmons.

Mrs Smidt, 77, is the last of the very first group of volunteers who initiated the Grafton Meals on Wheels in 1964.

At the time, Mrs Smidt was a housewife, mother, and her late husband Ivan’s offsider in his livestock-carrying business.

“It seemed like a good thing for elderly people who weren’t able to get their own meals,” Mrs Smidt said of her decision to become involved.

Almost half a century later and she explained why she was still dedicated to the service.

“I enjoy doing it,” she said. “You get to know the people and they get to know you. It’s a pity we don’t have more time to stop and chat to them more.”

But the Westlawn-run stalwart did not wish to be singled out.

“I don’t do things for glory,” she said. “I’d rather be in the kitchen making a cup of tea for someone else.”

Other noteworthy volunteers included Gloria Campbell, also a volunteer of 46 years, followed by Lesley Smith of 44 years and Pam Dougherty of 34 years.

Grafton Meals on Wheels manager Rhonda Raven said the service would not exist without the time and effort given by the volunteers, with the charity requiring 10 people to do meal runs every day.

“We just wouldn’t run without volunteers,” Mrs Raven said. “We very much appreciate them.”

The Meals on Wheels kitchen on Bacon Street dishes up an average of 2500 meals each month for Grafton residents, and between 700 and 1000 for Maclean.

The service is always looking for new volunteers. Phone 6642 3879.



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