While all of the recipients and nominees for the Narrandera Shire citizen of the year were truly deserving of their recognition, Doris Charles has always got on with her work with “no intention of thanks or reward” according to her daughter-in-law Ann Charles.
Dot, as she is more commonly known, was awarded Narrandera Senior Citizen of the year for 2018. Nominated by both family and friends, those around her have sung her praises for her volunteering work at both the Narrandera District Hospital and both of Narrandera’s aged care facilities, Opal and Teloca House.
Mrs Charles co-ordinates activities for the residents, such as bingo and singing.
She has been volunteering at Opal since the facility opened its doors in 1980. At 91, she’s showing no signs or intentions of slowing down.
“She’s been volunteering at Opal for as long as I can remember. Teloca is less formal; she pops over when she can, whereas at Opal she goes every week,” said Ann Charles.
“I think that’s the secret to her longevity; she just keeps on going. That and a positive outlook.
“She’s just such a bright and happy person that she instils it in others, and brings it out in others.”
According to Ann, Dot has always given her time and commitment with humility and compassion.
“She’s just so humble about it all. She would never tell you what she does. It’s a humble service that she does.”
Alongside her volunteering at both of Narrandera’s aged care facilities, Dot also visits the Narrandera District Hospital every Saturday, stopping for a chat and offering a magazine to help pass the time.
“Dot does this with great sensitivity, compassion and integrity. She certainly does brighten people’s day.
“She’s so non-judgemental. If someone is having a bad day she just continues to be bright and happy.”
Mrs Charles is also heavily involved in the Uniting Church, having supplied the flowers every week for over 30 years.
“She’s done a lot for the church. Many years ago her and her husband used to do quite a lot of youth work; they’d have kids come up from Canberra and have a country experience on the farm,” Ann said.
Along with her husband, Mrs Charles held the Grong Grong church Sunday school picnics on their property for many years. Mrs Charles also kept the Grong Grong church going for many years after the church had no Minister and the Sunday school was closed.
“She’s no stranger to hardship. She used to live on a farm with her husband; they started out with a little block and they expanded it with their family. She’s endured drought, flood and all those things. She’s experienced hardship and rose above it,” Ann said.
She also is a strong supporter of the Uniting Church Flower Show; not only does she provide her own entries, but has often collected flowers and entered them for people who are unable to attend due to illness or a lack of time.
Mrs Charles has also been a member of the Bulloak CWA for roughly 60 years.
“Dot is a humble and caring person, and despite her own advancing years, she gains great pleasure in bringing joy to others, some of which are much younger than she,” Beryl Brain said when presenting the award to Mrs Charles on Australia Day.
“Dot Charles is a quite achiever and is a worthy recipient for the 2018 Narrandera Shire’s Senior Citizen of the Year award.”
“Her generous hospitality is something I remember fondly,” Ann said.
“Her humble service, her kind spirit; we’re very blessed, she’s a wonderful person.”