Cessnock Vinnies volunteer hands in her name tag after more than two decades

Mary Whitaker
Mary Whitaker

She's the smiling face that has worked tirelessly for 27 years behind the counter at St Vincent de Paul's store in Cessnock.

Now, Mary Whitaker has handed in her name tag for the last time.

Since 1992, Mrs Whitaker has turned up nearly every Thursday for her shift at the Vincent Street store.

"My son had just finished school, and he joined the men's group who were going around visiting people. He talked me into coming and I have been here ever since," she said.

"I've met a lot of lovely people. I've seen adults who are now bringing in their children."

Mrs Whitaker's retirement coincides with National Volunteer Week (May 20-26).

"People should do something if they have the time to spare," Mrs Whitaker said.

"There's a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment in volunteering."

Mary Whitaker with Gwenda Herring

Mary Whitaker with Gwenda Herring

President Gwenda Herring said Mrs Whitaker would be sorely missed by her colleagues.

"We are going to miss her. She is such a darling," Ms Herring said.

National Volunteer Week acknowledges the contribution of volunteers in the community, and this year's theme is 'making a world of difference'.

Ms Herring added the organisation the organisation was always looking for new members to join the roster.

"I would say to people rather than sit at home and wonder about what to do with your day - come down here and meet some people," she said.

"All you need is a police check and then fill out an application form. It's easy. You can choose your hours so it's really good.

"We've become a bit of a family."