Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Libby Darling has lived in the New England for over 50 years, first in Armidale and now in Tamworth. During all her time in the region, she has found a sure-fire way to get through the tough times, whatever life throws her way, and that’s volunteering. 

Originally from Wagga Wagga the Tamworth resident told the New England Times that she finds volunteering the best “healing therapy” you could ever ask for and has been donating her time for decades. 

“Volunteering has helped me recover, and still is, through major events in my life, it’s a healing therapy that never fails,” Libby said. 

Her volunteering journey began with the blood bank in Armidale during the 1980s, and soon after, she started donating blood too.

After relocating to Tamworth 32 years ago, Libby joined Meals on Wheels, which provides support and meals to the elderly and disabled in the comfort of their own homes. 

“Then when my husband was diagnosed with dementia, I joined a Dementia Australia support group and have been doing that for about 15 years now,” she said. 

“I was at the blood bank and also a donor until COVID-19 came a few years ago, then I transferred to the Red Cross Shop, which will be six years in September. The shop has quickly become one of my happy places.” 

Volunteering is a fun way to pass the time too 

Over the years Libby has donated her time to quite a few organisations, including the Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Tamworth Southside Uniting Church, Dementia Australia, and “a few other bits and pieces.” 

She still helps the Southside Uniting Church by doing a “few little jobs” and continues with a support meeting once a month for Dementia Australia. Overall, Libby says the goal with all the groups she works with is to make sure people know “help is there” for those who need it. 

Aside from the healing effect it has had on her life, one overriding factor has kept her continuing to give her time all these years. 

“I just like to give, and I care; I have some family living overseas and up in Brisbane, and volunteering fills a bit of a gap, with grandchildren that are far away. “

“I still love doing it all, and I’ll keep doing it as long as I can; I just turned 78, but I’ll keep going for as long as I can,” Libby said. 

“For me volunteering is important. I don’t want to be at home sitting there feeling sorry for myself because my kids are away, and I don’t have family with me, but you pick yourself up, and you get out and do something you enjoy doing,” she added.  

According to Libby, even with her already busy volunteering schedule, she is always on the lookout to do more because, sadly, it’s in decline.  

“I’m always on the lookout. Everyone is short of volunteers, every group I’m involved with needs more people,” she said. 

“When we oldies can’t volunteer anymore, I don’t know what will happen. Volunteering is so big, I think it’s important to keep it going. When you hear of all the hours that are chopped up every year by volunteers, it’s incredible.”

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