‘When my husband was diagnosed with cancer 22 years ago I offered to go back to work. But he said ‘No, stick with your passion.’ I did and I’ve now been volunteering at Geelong Rangers Soccer Club for 40 years. I still feel sad about my husband not meeting his grandchildren.’ We are talking to Lyn Toll.
‘I help seven kids from the club who arrived here as refugees. I transport them to training and games.
Sometimes it takes two trips. Some people say they get given so much here in Australia but they still have to pay their way, just like anyone else. They also pay a price for the horrible way they’ve been treated in their home countries. I like to know about their cultures and what they have been through, so I talk to them about it. Some of them had never been to school before coming here. One Sudanese boy told me, ‘they used to come into your home and if you didn’t have money for them they would shoot you or cut off your head.
My boys come from Africa and Asia, including Afghanistan and Burma. That’s us in the photo L to R, Su Klay, John, Fiston, me, Etcha and Sabhan.
I’ve also run the canteen at the club for years. There are many helpers for that, which is great. I help cook meals for our club dinners on Thursday and Friday nights. We’ve run these the last couple of years. They are family-oriented and good for community building.
I often open and lock up. There was the time when I got called at 3am because the alarm had gone off. I made my son come with me. It was scary at the time but I can look back at it and laugh about it now.
There have been a lot of changes over the 40 years but I can honestly say the club is on the right track. Liam McCloskey, the Junior Coordinator, and his wife Louise are invaluable. We have so many magnificent parents helping out, I can’t name them all.
On Tuesdays I also volunteer at an Elderly Citizens Home. My friend works there and she suggested that I come along. Quite a few of the people in there don’t get any visitors so they rely on volunteers. There’s one lady I meet up with. I bring cross stitch with me and sometimes she helps me and sometimes she knits. She needs something to keep her busy. Just like me, I like keeping busy and I love what I do.’