98-year-old Lorna has been volunteering for 77 years
A GREAT grandmother of nine children was the oldest volunteer at Uniting Caroona Goonellabah, and she doesn't plan to slow down any time soon.
98-year-old Lorna Allen was in her early 20's and married when she first started volunteering for Red Cross during the war relief in 1941, baking and fundraising.
After a lengthy time there she started volunteering with Uniting Caroona, but that was 60 years ago in 1958.
Over the years she has helped organise and run annual fundraising fairs, worked in the op shop and helped the residents at the aged care home.
Ms Allen said she loved "every part of volunteering” and was still currently doing three days a week at the Goonellabah retirement complex, doing one-on-one visits with residents and helping with kitchen duties.
"I feel as though I'm needed and I'm doing something to help someone else,” she said.
"I want to be here, I'll be 99 in a few weeks and I would like to be able to still do the same as I'm doing when I'm 100.”
When Lorna turned 90 she was surprised to see the health policy showed she had to stop working in the op shop, but she then upped the amount of time she spent visiting residents at Uniting Caroona Jarman aged care home.
She moved into the Uniting Independent Living retirement home next door 21 years ago and loves being part of the community on site.
"I'm a member of the Uniting Church so that's why I chose to volunteer with Uniting and they've treated me really well. As I got older I thought I'd let them help me by moving into a retirement complex here and it's nice to know they are about if I ever need them.
"I would advise anyone to give volunteering a go, you'd be surprised how much you get out of it.”
And Lorna's secret to a long healthy life? She doesn't have one.
"I've just led a normal life with plenty of exercise, a lot of walking,” she said.
"I'm a good eater, I eat all the sweets going.”
A morning tea was held in Lorna's honour to mark the 60 year milestone.
Leisure and Lifestyle Manager at Uniting Caroona Jarman, Jessica Campbell said: "We wanted to show Lorna how grateful we are for all her help with 60 years of volunteering here at Uniting. She stands by Uniting's values, and is always being compassionate and respectful towards others.
"Over the years she has helped in the Uniting Auxiliary, helping to organise the Uniting Goonellabah annual fate, Helping organise activities for the residents, and helping out in the serveries.
"She's a shining example of the Inspired Care model which we work by at Uniting. We go out of our way to get to know the residents individually, and that is exactly what Lorna is doing by carrying on that philosophy. She visits the residents and takes the time to get to know them all well. She knows to spend extra time with them if they are sick or upset. She always brightens up everybody's day.”