Vol­un­teer­ing helps turn life around

Avon Valley Gazette - - NEWS -

VOL­UN­TEER­ING at Vin­nies Toodyay for al­most two decades has been a “life saver” for Jackie Irvine af­ter two of her chil­dren died within six weeks.

The volunteer store man­ager, whose adult chil­dren died about 14 years ago, said ded­i­cat­ing her time to the char­ity had kept her sane in such a trau­matic time.

Af­ter los­ing her daugh­ter Tina, who suf­fered from se­vere mi­graines, to an ac­ci­den­tal oxy­codone over­dose and her son Lee in a sky­div­ing ac­ci­dent, Mrs Irvine couldn’t get out of bed.

But it was the sup­port of Vin­nies, its vol­un­teers and cus­tomers that pulled the now 71year- old out of her de­pres­sion and gave her pur­pose to live.

Mrs Irvine said af­ter los­ing her chil­dren her world com­pletely fell apart and she felt as if she didn’t have a rea­son to live.

“I just wanted to lay in bed all day but com­ing to the shop was a to­tally dif­fer­ent part of my life; I felt like I was in a dif­fer­ent world here and safe,” she said.

“The vol­un­teers be­came like a lit­tle fam­ily to me and made me feel like I had a sense of be­long­ing.

“Vol­un­teer­ing at the shop kept my san­ity, along with the coun­selling and sup­port Vin­nies gave me.”

Mrs Irvine started the orig­i­nal Vin­nies shop in Toodyay with her hus­band Michael about 18 years ago af­ter mov­ing to Aus­tralia from Corn­wall in the UK.

Now the store is on Stir­ling Ter­race and Mrs Irvine has been recog­nised for her ded­i­ca­tion to the char­ity by be­ing nom­i­nated for the WA Volunteer of the Year award.

Not one to be in the spot­light, Mrs Irvine wanted to use her nom­i­na­tion and story as a way to en­cour­age oth­ers to volunteer and help peo­ple less for­tu­nate.

“I re­ally en­joy vol­un­teer­ing be­cause it gives me a sense of pur­pose and be­long­ing,” she said.

“Through vol­un­teer­ing, I have an op­por­tu­nity to see the gen­er­ous do­na­tions given by our com­mu­nity to raise rev­enue in our shop to help those in need, and you can too.”

Any­one in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing or who has items to donate can visit the Toodyay shop, which is open 9.30am to 4pm Tues­days to Satur­days.

Vin­nies Toodyay volunteer store man­ager Jackie Irvine.

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