Thelma's unsung efforts treasured
QUIET achiever Thelma Hodgson will never know she received a Hidden Treasures award, but for her daughter it has provided a poignant closure on a life well-lived.
Copmanhurst's Margaret Hodgson yesterday accepted the posthumous recognition on behalf of her mother, who died in May; just short of her 99th birthday and one day before her daughter could let her know she was being nominated.
A former Hidden Treasures recipient herself, Margaret said she felt it was important to recognise her mother's achievements over the years.
"I was tickled pink when they accepted it,” she told The Daily Examiner.
"It is a beautiful closure for mum's life.”
While she was first and foremost a mum, grandmother and great grandmother, Thelma also threw herself wholeheartedly into supporting the various communities she lived in.
In Thornton during the historic 1954 flood, she helped establish a distribution centre, enabling displaced families to have food, clothing and temporary shelter.
She cooked for them and cared for friends and strangers alike who emerged from ravage bushland after their homes had been swept away in flood waters.
Later, Thelma heavily supported her husband's attempts to build up the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society's Lodge in East Maitland - which provided members in hardship with affordable medical, hospital and funeral funds.
It was a dedication which saw her make lodge history to become the first Worshipful Mistress of the Lodge.
After the death of her husband Harold she moved to Copmanhurst in 1977 to live with Margaret.
Her last couple of years were spent at St Catherine's Aged Care home in Grafton.
"They all called her Queen Thelma there, so that was really good that she had that sort of community group in the closing days of her life,” Margaret said.
"As they say, what goes around comes around and she was the most loving person. She did all sorts of things in years gone by without any thought - they just went out and they just helped. That was the thing in those days; be part of the community.”
The proud daughter said she would share the news of the award with her mum in a memorial garden being built in her backyard.
"It's just a place we can go and say, 'hi mum',” Margaret said.
"If she was here she'd probably say, what did I do to deserve this?
"She was very humble.”