Living the volunteer life

Sunbury resident Mary Wicks has been made an officer of the Order of Australia for her community service. Pic Marco De Luca

By Jessica Micallef

Sunbury resident Mary Wicks has been made an officer of the Order of Australia for her community service.

Ms Wicks, 84, told Star Weekly she did not expect to be recognised at a high level for her work.

“I got a real pleasant surprise … I thought, ‘Oh goodness gracious me’,” Ms Wicks said. “I’m very grateful to the people who thought I was worthy of it.”

Ms Wicks said she had been a member of the Australian Red Cross since 1997.

“I always had a regard for the Red Cross and we did have a branch here in Sunbury and I was associated with that,” Ms Wicks said.

“Then that closed down and I joined Darraweit Guim, their branch there … I was chairman there for three years.

“I firmly believe in what the Red Cross represents.

“Every time you have a look at the news, they’re often in war-torn areas and they do an enormous amount of work. They’re there whenever needed.”

Ms Wicks also volunteered with Sunbury Community Health.

“I worked there as a volunteer after I finished work,” she said.

“I looked around into various organisations and thought, ‘Where can I be the most useful’.

“So I went there and I worked as a volunteer with the community health nurse.”

The Sunbury resident is a member of the U3A Sunbury, an organisation for retired or semi-retired people aged above 50.

She has been a steward at the Sunbury Agricultural Show for 20 years, was a member of the Country Women’s Association in Sunbury and has been involved with the Sunbury Widows Club since 2014.

Ms Wicks said volunteering was a great way to “appreciate the needs of people”.

“I think it helps you develop a feel for the people in the community,” she said.

“If there’s a need, you put your mind to it and do something about it.

“That’s the way a community grows, of course.”

Ms Wicks said she was appreciative of being recognised through an Order of Australia.

“You don’t do it for that – you do it because there’s a need there and you get out and do it,” she said. “All I would like to do is encourage people to get out because you do meet some very nice people.

“[I] made some good friends over the years, and whilst you move on to other organisations, the friendships still last.”