News & Events

Mary is OCAV’s treasure

October 1, 2016


Mary McLure, a volunteer at OCAV’s Leith Park village for almost 14 years, has been named an Individual winner in the City of Banyule’s 2017 Volunteer and Citizen of the Year Awards on Wednesday May 10 at a celebration dinner in The Great Hall, The Centre Ivanhoe. Mary received her award in recognition of her dedicated years of volunteering with OCAV.  Mary, who was among 30 nominees, received the award from Banyule Mayor Tom Melican. OCAV staff and residents applaud Mary for her great work.  Below is an interview with Mary last year (2016).



Mary McLure is like part of the furniture at Leith Park’s aged care facility – a valuable piece of furniture. She has been a volunteer at OCAV’s Leith Park for 13 years, turning up every Monday to take residents bowling or out for coffee.

Mary, 68, who lives a stone’s throw from Leith Park village started volunteering after returning home from a three-year stint in Hong Kong where her husband was working. She saw a story in the local paper and decided she would give it a go.

Her proximity to Leith Park means she is also ‘on call’ if people need to be taken to doctor’s or hospital appointment, trips she is very happy to make.

“I knew about Leith Park long before I began volunteering because it is built on the land where I played as a child in the 1950s. We used to ride our bikes all over that area and then have a swim in the nearby aqueduct,” Mary said. “Then when I was working at a yarn business I used to drop off wool for the people to use in the craft group.”

Every second Monday Mary drives residents in the Leith Park mini bus to their indoor lawn bowling competition against residents from the Wattle Glen Residential care. Over the years great friendships have developed amidst the rivalry of the game. The same has happened to Mary.

“You do develop close friendships with some people and it is very hard when they pass away.  That is the only difficult part of being a volunteer. But it is worth it and it gives me a lot of pleasure,” she said.

Leith Park’s aged care facility residents ‘share’ Mary with hundreds of other people in the local community, young and old.

Mary volunteers on a Tuesday in the Austin Hospital’s emergency department supporting patients with a smile, some kind words, a cup of tea and a piece of toast. But mostly it’s her generous spirit that gives people a lift when she is around.

On Wednesday she helps teach craft at a group run at the nearby Baptist Church hall and on Thursday she heads off to Rosanna Primary school, where her friend teaches, to help out where she can in the Grade 5 and 6 classes.

Mary doesn’t sit still for long. When she isn’t volunteering she is in her garden at home, or sewing, knitting or quilting.

One of Mary’s other, ‘most favourite’ jobs at Leith Park is looming. She and her husband, Geoff, put up the Christmas decorations on December 1. “I just love Christmas, I really do and the decorations have to go up on that day. It’s a big job, but I rope Geoff in and we get it done by the end of the day”.

“I guess I am a cheerful sort of person and that is what I bring to the volunteering work that I do. But it certainly goes both ways; the people I meet  each week, they add a lot to my life.”

Mary was nominated by OCAV for the 2016 Victorian Senior of the Year Award. Although she did not take out the honours she received a Certificate of Recognition and Appreciation.


"There is nothing I would change that would make my life any better. I have two loving sons and family and I thank God every day that OCAV took me in when I had nothing," said Jill Dale, Braeside Park resident.

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