IN A COMMUNITY like Rockhampton, it's not uncommon to know the bloke at the paint shop, the local painters and a few people you regularly see around town.

But when they all show up on your 87-year-old mum's doorstep to paint her house for free, it's something special.

A troupe of about 15 volunteers turned up at Rockhampton widow Jessie Harris' home on Saturday morning to treat her 65-year-old family home to a makeover.

The generous act was the initiative of Australian charity Berger Paint For a Mate, which lends a helping DIY hand to local widows or families affected by war through Legacy Australia, by giving their homes a much-needed makeover.

While Mrs Harris watched the action from inside with a cup of tea in hand, her sons Jim and Ken joined many other volunteers to put brush to house.

LUNCH BREAK: Berger Paint For a Mate volunteers enjoy a well-earned lunch break.
LUNCH BREAK: Berger Paint For a Mate volunteers enjoy a well-earned lunch break.

Jim said the event was a true show of community spirit.

"It really touches home in a situation like this," Jim said.

"Mum was ecstatic when she found out about it. I rang her and she said 'I've got some great news, RSL is going to paint my house'. It meant a lot to her.

"My dad was an ex painter and I think it was about 1995 when he last painted the house; so about 20 years ago."

Jim said the house was more than just a place to live, but rather a home filled with war history, family memories and plenty of love.

"Mum's parents bought the place in 1959 when they moved to Rockhampton and my grandfather was a WW I veteran," he said.

"My father was a WW II returned soldier and my parents moved in here in 2000 to look after my grandmother, who in turn passed away in 2003 at 101 years of age.

"We lost my father in 2007 and mum's lived here ever since by herself."

Jim said when it came to choosing the new colour scheme of the house, Mrs Harris had the final say.

"My brother had a little bit to do with the colour scheme as well as Kevin from Inspirations Paint Rockhampton," he said.

"Mum was pretty set on the blue and white here and in seeing what the boys have done today; it's much like the name of the paint shop, inspirational."

With three children, 10 grandchildren and five great grandchildren who all love visiting Mrs Harris, Jim was sure the freshly painted home would be in the family for many years to come.


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