Since 1957, Cooma’s Linda Marke has spent the month of March, every year, volunteering for the Red Cross Calling month.
For 61 years she has jumped in her car and travelled around Cooma, knocking on the doors of strangers and asking for donations.
‘‘Last year I got 112 donations. Often I have to go back a second time, but only one or two ever refuse, just because they aren’t able to give,’’ Mrs Marke said.
Cooma’s Red Cross branch was first formed by Mrs Marke’s mother-in-law in October 1956.
‘‘There was quite a lot of women, must’ve been about 20, over the years we’ve done a lot of work,’’ she said.
‘‘I think most of those that began when the group first formed have passed.’’
The 88-year-old doesn’t have any plans to give up her volunteering work anytime soon and says as long as she can drive she’ll keep going.
‘‘I often get asked to come inside for a cup of tea, but I resist because I want to get the job done,’’ Mrs Marke said.
‘‘There are a few times that I’ve found people in real need and I’ve just given them a hand. Sometimes I take little bits of slices to people.’’
Despite having a big fear of dogs Mrs Marke has continued because Red Cross is ‘‘such a worthy cause’’.
‘‘Everybody has dogs and they jump all over you. I’m frightened of tripping over little dogs,’’ she said.
‘‘Red Cross is always at the scene of any disaster, they’re always there, and they do amazing work around the world.’’
During the years the Cooma Red Cross branch has dwindled in numbers and currently only has four.
‘‘One lady is in a home in Kyabram and one is living in the retirement village in Kyabram, so there’s just my son and I left,’’ Mrs Marke said.
Mrs Marke’s son Murray joined almost a decade ago now and it’s quite obvious to see volunteering is something he’s inherited.
‘‘I love helping other people if I can. It’s a great honour in society to do such a thing for someone who needs it,’’ he said.
‘‘Mum does it and my grandmother did it before her. I’ve got several aunties that do it as well, so you could call it a family tradition.’’
As for his thoughts on his Mum.
‘‘I’m very proud of her. I think she’s the oldest living resident in Cooma at present.’’