GOONELLABAH woman Lorna Allen has been a volunteer for more years than most people can remember.

It's a passion the 94-year-old picked up during the war in 1941 by sewing and baking for the Red Cross to raise funds for diggers.

"Everywhere people were volunteering to support the men," she said.

"So I joined the Red Cross, naturally, and worked hard there doing cooking and sewing and having stalls to sell stuff to send to the soldiers overseas.

"From then on I was with the Red Cross for years and years."

In the 73 years that have passed since, Ms Allen has continued to give to the community.

After finishing up with the Red Cross, she moved to Lismore and began volunteering at UnitingCare Caroona aged-care facility, celebrating 55 years of volunteering in 2013.

Ms Allen started by sewing for the seniors and worked her way up to organising events and activities.

"I just love it," she said.

"I will say it comes from the heart.

"You get a lot out of it as well.

"You get that smile and you feel as though you have made someone happy."

Every week Ms Allen spends at least 30-35 hours volunteering at the UnitingCare Op Shop and Caroona aged-care facility.

Her roles involve taking residents on shopping excursions, organising the weekly bus trip, helping out with activities and putting together the in-house happy hour.

With National Volunteer Week kicking off on Monday, Ms Allen hopes to inspire others to get on board and give volunteering a go.

Recognised for service

In 2008 Ms Allen was awarded a Certificate of Meritorious by UnitingCare Caroona at the aged-care facility's 50 years of service celebration. She was also awarded the Northern Rivers Senior Volunteer of the Year award and honoured at a ceremony at Parliament House in Sydney.

In 2009 Ms Allen was awarded with an outstanding volunteer award for dedicating her time and energy to UnitingCare Aging, which was presented to her by Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell.

In 2012 she was a finalist for the Aged and Community Service Association State Award for Excellence in the field of Volunteering, at a ceremony in Sydney.


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