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Suffolk’s 95-year-old volunteer Mary Owens is keeping active and giving back

PUBLISHED: 15:01 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:01 16 March 2017

Mary Owens, who could be Suffolk's oldest volunteer at 95, at Sudbury Oxfam along with some of the other volunteers. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

Mary Owens, who could be Suffolk's oldest volunteer at 95, at Sudbury Oxfam along with some of the other volunteers. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

Mary Owens is making the most of her spare time by taking on a volunteering role at the Oxfam shop in Sudbury.

Mary Owen. Picture: GREGG BROWN.Mary Owen. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

At the age of 95 Mary Owens could be Suffolk’s oldest volunteer.

She has enjoyed an active life as a mother-of-four and an English teacher and is now making the most of having more spare time to try new things.

Mrs Owens, who has 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, recently applied to volunteer at the Oxfam shop in Friars Street, Sudbury, after spotting a notice in the window.

She said she enjoys her Thursday mornings there running the till and meeting customers.

Left to right, Rachel Boyle, Janet Stenner, Felicity Stranack, Mary Owens and David Orrell. Picture: GREGG BROWN.Left to right, Rachel Boyle, Janet Stenner, Felicity Stranack, Mary Owens and David Orrell. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

Mrs Owens is the oldest volunteer at the shop - the youngest being 14 - but she feels it is down to luck that she is able to be so active in her later years.

“I think I’m just one of the lucky ones because I’m very healthy,” she said. “It makes all the difference in the world. If you feel fine then you can do all sorts of things.”

Mrs Owens lived in South Africa for most of her married life where she taught English to Japanese women.

She moved back to live with her daughter Sue Copping after her husband died.

As well as volunteering at the Oxfam shop, she gives her time once a week to support children’s reading at St Gregory CEVC Primary School and she enjoys a painting class.

She said: “I’m doing things now that I have never done before. It’s very nice. It’s lovely to do something new.”

She described the Oxfam shop as a “very impressive” operation and praised manager Rachel Boyle for being “very efficient”.

“There is fresh stuff coming in all the time. There are all kinds of different things,” she said.

Mrs Owens said she would definitely recommend volunteering at the shop - which needs another 10 on their books - and volunteering in general.

“I think it’s a very good thing everybody gives a little bit back when they are able to do it.”

Ms Boyle is encouraging people to try volunteering out during a taster week at the shop from March 27 to April 1.

She said there are a variety of roles people can get involved in, including some they might not initially think of.

She said the experience gained can boost someone’s CV and it is also a chance to meet new people.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the shop should call 01787 375809 or email oxfamshopf2604@oxfam.org.uk

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