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Mary leaves her mark
May 11, 2016
During National Volunteer Week (9-15 May 2016) OCAV paid tribute to Braeside Park resident Mary Tasker for her service and commitment to residents and friends in the village.
Mary Tasker leaves her mark, whether it’s at the Berwick Uniting Church where she arranges the flowers and produces the weekly bulletin, or in the Braeside Park Community Room where she runs exercise classes twice a week.
“My older sister used to say I was bossy, but I try not to be,” Mary laughs, describing her enthusiasm for getting people involved in health and social activities at the village. “Community doesn’t just happen, we have to do things to bring people together, offer hospitality and try and help one another when we can.” Mary certainly does that in the village and the local Berwick community.
Supporting her friends and church community is an important part of Mary’s life and it gives her great joy and fulfilment. She was always a ‘doer’ even when her four sons were in school and committee members were needed to raise money and run events. Since moving to Braeside Park 12 years ago she has built a rich and happy life, filling most of her days with activities and people.
Mary, 78, is chairperson of the Braeside Park Activities Committee and along with other residents she organises the regular events such as chat ‘n chew, book club, craft afternoons, games afternoon and special events to mark days like Melbourne Cup, Christmas and ANZAC Day. Mary, who joined the arthritis association several years ago because of her own arthritic back pain, did a leaders’ training course with the association and now runs the Braeside Park exercise classes.
“The games afternoon of scrabble and other games is good for the mind and the exercise classes are good for our health and they are fun. We do a lot of chatting while we exercise,” Mary said.
“People can keep to themselves if they like and some people want to live like that. But for others moving from their home into the village can be a hard adjustment to so we just open a few doors of hospitality,” Mary said.
Apart from providing opportunities to socialise, Mary and her neighbour, Jill Dale, have also made themselves available to help people who need to get around, but who have no car. They regularly take people to doctors’ appointments and the staff know they can call on Mary and her friends.
Mary and Jill recently supported a village resident during her six weeks of daily radiotherapy taking her to the hospital and waiting to bring her home.
“I am retired and I have plenty of time so it is no trouble at all,” Mary said. “And it’s as it should be isn’t it, helping other people if we can. And the things I am involved in like the Church and here at the village are important parts of my life. The people in these communities become a bit like family,” she said.
Mary looks back on her 12 years at Braeside Park and is grateful she made the decision to move from insecure renting to a home where she feels safe, supported and comforted in the knowledge that, if necessary, she can move from independent to assisted accommodation and into aged care at Leith Park.
But for now there’s no stopping Mary and OCAV honours her contribution to the life of the Braeside Park village.
Dorothy Clayton has felt very much ‘at home’ since she moved into Braeside Park nine years ago. Now, Dorothy, the village’s volunteer pastoral care worker, tries to ensure that others also feel a sense of belonging in the Berwick village.