Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Bunnaloo Red Cross folds after 75 years

The Bunnaloo Red Cross folded last month after 75 years in operation.

JESS CRAIG March 13, 2014 4:22am

Bunnaloo Red Cross members Shirley Thompson, Jean Pocklington and Elaine Holschier.

It was the end of an era when the Bunnaloo Red Cross folded last month.

In operation for 75 years, the Bunnaloo branch raised thousands of dollars for community members in need, with volunteers tirelessly giving their time.

Finishing with four memberschairperson Shirley Thompson, secretary Elaine Holschier, treasurer Jean Pocklington and vice-president Eleanor Howorththe branch will no doubt be missed.

The branch started just weeks after the declaration of World War II, in September 1939.

Mrs Thompson, a Red Cross veteran of more than 50 years, and good friend Mrs Pocklington, who has given more than 60 years of service, said they would miss the friendship the branch provided.

‘‘It is sad,’’ Mrs Thompson said.

‘‘When I first became involved in the Red Cross, it was an outlet...I was living on a farm and it was something most women got involved with, along with other community groups.

‘‘These days, most women are at work, so it’s different.’’

Mrs Pocklington said the loss of the branch would be felt around the district.

The Riv met three of the four members, Mrs Thompson, Mrs Pocklington and Mrs Holschier on Tuesday.

Vice-president Mrs Howarth was unable to attend.

The three members were quick to point out that the branch would not have survived, had it not been for the work of many members of the years.

‘‘This is not about individuals. There have been so many people involved over the years,’’ Mrs Pocklington said.

‘‘We would certainly like to thank the community who have supported the branch over the years.

‘‘We could not have lasted this long without support.’’

Since the group’s inception, members have been knitting, sewing and door-knocking to raise money to be sent to the Red Cross headquarters in Melbourne.

The Bunnaloo group hosted Gown of the Year events for about 20 years, raising about $40,000.

‘‘It was such an event, with so much work involved...We couldn’t do it now,’’ Mrs Thompson said.

‘‘There would be a truck arrive with all of the gowns from the competition, along with a catwalk and we would set that up in the old Paramount Theatre.

‘‘It took about three days: one to set up, one to host the event and one to pack everything up.’’

The branch also hosted garden parties and functions and raised money for the annual March appeal.

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