Volunteers farewelled with afternoon tea

VOLUNTEERS: Joan Wight and Pat Carracher. Photo: Laura Sneath
VOLUNTEERS: Joan Wight and Pat Carracher. Photo: Laura Sneath

A pair of dedicated volunteers celebrated the end of an era with an afternoon tea on Tuesday.

Naracoorte women Joan Wight and Pat Carracher celebrated more than two decades of volunteering at the Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre in Penola.

The duo told the Herald it's something they'll miss dearly, but it is simply time to move on.

"We're going to miss it terribly, but you know that old saying, the spirit's willing but the flesh is weak," Joan said.

Joan has volunteered for about 30 years, and was happy to have Pat by her side for most of that time. Pat started volunteering at the centre about 21 years ago, and said she'll look back on her time there fondly.

"I've enjoyed my time and I've always looked forward to coming. We only came one day a month. But the timing is right I think for us to say goodbye. I always write the day on the calendar and I had to cross it off the other day. It's become habit.

"At times, we were able to do a little bit of work like marking and putting prices on things and meeting different people from all over the world."

The pair admitted they're looking forward to winding down but will visit the centre on occasion.

"Both of us are getting older, and it's not being here like we are now, it's walking around that (we) find difficult," Joan said.

The centre has been a major tourist attraction for many years, and Pat said those who visit find the history most interesting.

"We get a lot of locals that bring their visitors in. I think Mary being made a saint is probably what draws people here."

Joan said people are often surprised when they walk through the doors to find a lot more than they might have expected.

"I don't know what they think it's going to be like but they say 'Oh wow'."

Because of their dedication and loyalty to volunteering the pair were gifted a small present and some flowers as a sign of the centre's appreciation.