The New Milton Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Mary Rice-Mundy at the Annual Towns Meeting held at New Milton Town Hall on Monday 11 April 2016. The Town Mayor, Cllr David Hawkins was delighted to present the award to Mary, who acknowledged the amazing team of volunteers and drivers who support her with the running of the monthly Darby & Joan Club.
Mary Rice-Mundy was involved with the WRVS from 1979 and out of that the Darby and Joan Club was formed in New Milton. They originally met at St Mary Magdalene Church hall and now presently at the Baptist Church Hall in Old Milton Road.
Numbers of members attending range between 30-40, with the oldest member being 103 years old. The club meets monthly with Mary arranging transport to collect members by car or minibus. For the vast majority of the participants this is their only outing. Mary co-ordinates 8 drivers and 6 helpers for the club.
Mary arranges the meetings for members to include refreshments, games, bring and buy stall as well as outings. Mary manages the income and expenditure as the club is not registered as a charity. Mary arranges birthday parties and treats for them. Members donate 50p per meeting with 50p for refreshments.
Over the years Mary has raised funds for the Darby and Joan club holding garden parties in her own garden.
Out of WRVS came Meals on Wheels – and was a voluntary service at the time. Mary organised everything – 250 meals were delivered weekly (1000 meals a month) and she arranged volunteers and completed the administration. Mary had to make sure that clients received the correct meals including those with special dietary needs.
As well as this charitable work, Mary has also befriended a lady and does her shopping for her (as well as for other ladies who need assistance) and invites her round for Christmas meals because the lady doesn’t have family.
Mary offers a not for profit bed and breakfast for the homeless and those in crisis working closely with the CAB. Mary has been known to make beds up and preparations late at night. She also prepares a Christmas meal for residents.
Mary Rice-Mundy is truly selfless and modest, giving her time and own money for the benefit of those in need.