Fa­mil­iar vol­un­teers

Central and North Burnett Times - - HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE... 50+ -

CE­CIL and Myr­tle Schif­fke are com­mu­nity-minded Mun­dub­berites whose faces are known to all.

For the past 13 years the cou­ple has been vol­un­teer­ing for the lo­cal Queens­land Am­bu­lance Ser­vice and both are reg­u­larly seen sell­ing tick­ets for chances to win prizes from the well-stocked am­bu­lance trailer.

Early ev­ery Fri­day morn­ing Ce­cil hooks the trailer onto his car at the QAS shed and tows it to Lyons St to set up for the day’s fundrais­ing.

For the safety of the pub­lic, metal tracks have to be placed over the gut­ter and this task has be­come in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for Ce­cil.

“I need some­one to bring the trailer down for me Fri­day morn­ings and take it back Fri­day af­ter­noons,” Ce­cil said.

“We will still sell tick­ets but I can’t do the heavy lift­ing any­more.”

Myr­tle’s days of vol­un­tary work be­gan ear­lier than Ce­cil who re­tired from the coun­cil in 1992 af­ter 35 years.

The RSL and hospi­tal aux­il­iary are two of the many groups grate­ful for Myr­tle’s help.

The pair were both in­volved with the Red Cross and their 10year involvement with St John’s Op Shop re­sulted in it mov­ing to the present lo­ca­tion.

Many Meals on Wheels have been de­liv­ered by the Schif­fkes to el­derly Mun­dub­bera res­i­dents.

The cou­ple is now heav­ily in­volved in Se­nior Ci­ti­zens and Myr­tle bas been in the po­si­tion of pres­i­dent for about eight years.

She also at­tends meet­ings of the Mun­dub­bera Com­mu­nity Ad­vi­sory Net­work where she rep­re­sents the Unit­ing Church and Se­nior Ci­ti­zens.

Their great com­mu­nity spirit can be traced back to their child­hood and the fi­nan­cial strug­gle they en­dured in the early years of their mar­riage.

Myr­tle was the el­dest girl in a fam­ily of 10 chil­dren while Ce­cil was one of eight chil­dren brought up on a dairy farm at Glen Eden.

Although born in Tully, Myr­tle first lived in the North Bur­nett when, at age 16, she spent time in Gayn­dah to get to know her grand­par­ents.

Un­for­tu­nately her grand­mother died three months later and af­ter work­ing for some time as a house­keeper and then in a Mur­gon ho­tel with her aunt, Myr­tle moved back up north.

When her sis­ter, Daphne, wanted to get to know her grand­fa­ther, both moved to Gayn­dah where she and Ce­cil met and mar­ried in 1956.

Although Ce­cil had worked on the Gayn­dah bridge and in the town’s but­ter fac­tory, af­ter the mar­riage he and Myr­tle lived and worked on the dairy farm with his par­ents.

“It was a drought year and we were earn­ing two pound, 12 shillings per month and hav­ing to split it be­tween two fam­i­lies,” Ce­cil said.

“To sur­vive we grew our own ve­g­ies, had chooks, ducks and pigs and made our own but­ter and cream.”

When Ce­cil found work in Mun­dub­bera the cou­ple moved to the town where they raised their chil­dren Jen­nifer, Avril and Shane and be­came in­volved in the com­mu­nity.

When Ce­cil finds some­one to help him with the am­bu­lance trailer, he and Myr­tle will still vol­un­teer but will go on more hol­i­days.

“We’ll prob­a­bly go north in win­ter to see my fam­ily and spend more time with the grand­chil­dren,” Myr­tle said.

Photo: Sue Har­ris

SUP­PORT­ERS OF COM­MU­NITY: Myr­tle and Ce­cil Schif­fke vol­un­teer tire­lessly for the Mun­dub­bera com­mu­nity and are look­ing for an able-bod­ied per­son to tow the am­bu­lance trailer to the main street on Fri­day morn­ings and set it up.

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