Retirement is nowhere near the radar for octogenarians Dot and Bill Harris, who clocked up a combined 100 years of volunteering at MercyCare this year.
The dynamic North Beach duo celebrated their centenary in style with a presentation at MercyCare recently recognising their impact on the organisation together over the last 50 years.
Bill, 84, and Dot, 81, first became involved with MercyCare way back in 1964, when Bill offered to help work on the boilers which supplied water to the orphanage that the organisation then operated.
From that point on, there’s little the pair haven’t turned their hand to over the years, helping out whenever and wherever help is called for, all in between juggling their own business and raising their four children.
From the ‘spud and bikky run’ collecting donated food items around Perth for the MercyCare orphanage and driving the day care school bus, to taking aged care residents on excursions, and sewing and baking for countless fetes and raffle fundraisers, the Harris’ have done it all.
Now Dot and Bill visit one of MercyCare’s Early Learning Centres together every week, where they play a grandparent role reading books, helping fix toys and telling stories, and most Christmases Bill has been known to don his alter ego attire to visit MercyCare as Father Christmas.
After their 50 years volunteering with MercyCare, Dot said she and Bill still love being involved with the organisation and its clients.
“Ours is only a small contribution, but it’s something we’ve enjoyed over the years,” she said.
“From our perspective MercyCare and the people we’ve met have been a huge part of our lives, and it’s also been a way for us to spend time together – we’ve been married almost 58 years now and still do everything together.”
And while Dot says they are “winding down” their commitments, they have no plan to retire any time soon.
“We aren’t really that old, we just started volunteering very young,” she said.
MercyCare Chief Executive Officer Chris Hall said the Harris’ had become an integral part of the MercyCare family, with an apartment building being named in their honour.
“It’s the unwavering loyalty, generosity and commitment of people like Dot and Bill who help make MercyCare what it is,” he said.
“The impact of their volunteer work for MercyCare services and clients over the years cannot be overstated, and we can’t thank Dot and Bill enough for everything big and little that they’ve turned their hand to help with over the years.”
If you are interested in volunteering for MercyCare please contact Anne on 9442 3491 or firstname.lastname@example.org.