Kathie holding her Thank You certificate from the Good Friday Appeal

Kathie Hawkins

Wodonga’s Kathie Hawkins has been rattling tins for 26 years.

Kathie is Wodonga’s own tour de force in the days leading up to the annual Good Friday Appeal.

For the past 26 years, the nearly 70-year-old has rattled tins around the light industrial area of the town. With help from either her young grandsons (Hunter, 13, and Cage, 10), her nephew, Caleb, 14, or her twin sister, she’s the face of the appeal in that part of town. She said her best effort was last year when in just four days she collected $1535 in her tins.

“It does you good to get away from the house and out helping others,” Kathie said. “Every year my husband says I say it will be my last, but I always come back.”

Although none of Kathie’s family has had to use the services of the Royal Children’s Hospital, she said with grandchildren “you never know when you might need it”.

Area manager for Wodonga Phil Wilkins said Kathie was a stalwart in the town. “She loves it and it’s a great delight to see her involved,” he said. “She gets a real glimmer in her eye when she knows she’s done well.

“Kathie has contributed hundreds of hours and collected thousands of dollars for the Appeal. It’s the efforts of our collectors, like Kathie, who ensure the continued increase of the Wodonga total – which cracked the million dollars in 2017.”

Phil, who has an architectural business in the town, has been the Appeal’s Area Manager for the Wodonga Lions Club for 12 years. His “right hand man” is the regional commander of the Wodonga West fire brigade Alex Todd. “It’s a real joint effort,” Phil said.

The Appeal has gone from strength to strength in Wodonga. Phil said records going back to 1984 showed in that year around $1800 was collected. Last year the 120 volunteers and 42 Lions club members led an effort that contributed more than $100,000 to the Appeal.

Over the years, legends have been created. And it’s hard to beat the time the Lions Club members  decided to “swim to Melbourne” to raise money. An open top milk tanker was filled with water and relay teams swam laps as the truck drove to Melbourne. “It wouldn’t happen now, but these are the things we cherish…” Phil said.

First published 26th September, 2019
Words: Tricia Quirk

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