Tanilba Bay Vinnies bids farewell to shop manager Judy

Judy McDermott, who was honoured for eighteen years of service at Vinnies in Tanilba Bay, pictured with Monique Woolley, Regional Manager, St Vincent de Paul Society.

FOR eighteen years Judy Mcdermott has been a steadfast and faithful presence at Vinnies in Tanilba Bay.

On Friday 9 February her friends and colleagues wished her a fond farewell.

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“I don’t quite know what we’ll do without you,” said Lisa Davies to Judy and a room in which there were a fair few tears.

Judy came to Port Stephens from Perth in 2004 to be closer to family members who lived close by at the time.

“I didn’t know a soul,” said Judy of the interstate move.

“So I just asked one of my neighbours: ‘What do you do around this little town to get to know people?’.

“She said: ‘Well I work at Vinnies’.

“So that was that, and I’ve been here eighteen years.”

In Perth, Judy had spent her career caring for others, notably working in a Catholic hospital alongside the Sisters of St. John of God for about 30 years.

During that time she also assisted her local parish with administration, entrenching a deep sense of commitment to the Catholic Church and her many charitable organisations.

Around 2018 the shop manager at that time chose to move on, meaning someone was needed to fill the role.

“I didn’t put in for the job,” Judy recalls, “I just went to a meeting one day and was given a badge!”

That badge displayed her name and the title of shop manager.

St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies) Regional Manager Monique Woolley was on hand to laud Judy’s significant contribution to the charity over the past five years.

“Apart from running a retail business Judy has also managed the donations and charitable contributions that have come through this branch,” said Monique.

“Along with taking care of the clients and taking care of our donors, she has been taking care of the team.”

After this long season of selfless service – Judy’s role has always been as a volunteer – she is preparing to return to Perth.

The team of Vinnies at Tanilba Bay gathered around coffee and cake to express their love and appreciation for all of Judy’s hard work and to wish her the best moving forward.

Monique addressed the team and presented Judy with an award of appreciation from the organisation.

“You’ve left a legacy here, and some big shoes to fill,” she told Judy.

Though not one for speeches, Judy thanked those gathered for becoming her community – her dear friends and family – during her time in Tanilba Bay.

Looking ahead Judy is sure that she won’t be idle back in WA.

“I’m sure as soon as I’ve unpacked and settled in my new home I’ll be out and volunteering somewhere within a month!”

By Lindsay HALL

Judy was farewelled by her team after five years as shop manager.

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