Meals on Wheels branch celebrates 50 years, plus one extra

The Murray Bridge branch has finally celebrated a major milestone after COVID-19 thwarted its earlier plans.

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It took an extra year in the end, but the Murray Bridge branch of Meals on Wheels has finally celebrated its 50th birthday.

Fifty-one years to the day after the branch was established, more than 90 current and former volunteers gathered for lunch at the Murray Bridge Club on Tuesday.

Meals on Wheels’ state president, Bill Coomans, was on hand to offer congratulations a year after the cancellation of a planned celebration due to COVID-19.

The Murray Bridge branch was now on the verge of joining the “millionaires’ club”, he said, with around 950,000 meals served since its inception.

Murray Bridge Mayor Brenton Lewis also paid due credit.

“It’s one thing to achieve 50 years for any organisation, but to really put in those 50 years on the ground, doing what this organisation has done (is impressive),” he said.

“On behalf of the community, for your past service I say thank you, for your present service I thank you and for your future service I thank you.”

Meals on Wheels was part of a significant volunteer culture in Murray Bridge, he said, as hundreds of locals gave their time to dozens of organisations that made others’ lives better.

Federal MP Tony Pasin also sent a message of congratulations, crediting Meals on Wheels for making the local community stronger.

Long service awards were presented to 24 local volunteers who had amassed a combined 240 years of service.

Leading them was Rosemary Fuge, with 50 years’ service.

Lyn Doecke and Aileen Earl became life members of Meals on Wheels by reaching 15 years’ service.

The branch’s 50th anniversary celebrations had originally been planned for June 8, 2020.

Founding members Helen Schubert and Gwen Parbs were honoured at a state-wide function late last year, alongside 45-year members Kay Dougall and Margaret Warnest.

The branch also celebrated its milestone in a limited way at its annual general meeting in December.

Service award recipients

  • 50 years: Rosemary Fuge

  • 30 years: Helen Oats

  • 25 years: Maureen Klau, Basil Schubert

  • 20 years: Ross Pfeiffer, Lesley Rosenzweig

  • 15 years: Lyn Doecke, Aileen Earl

  • Five years: Christine Brown, Keryl Kiel, Brian Leckie, Lorraine Reu, Dianne Ross, Dot Temby

  • One year: John Ali, Phillip Billing, Doug Blenkiron, Lucy Marsh, Margaret Palmer, Mere Ravula, Lynette Reilly, Deborah Siviour, Lorraine Vickers