My name is Mary Smith and I’ve been at Uniting Country SA for nearly twenty years. I used to come into the Op Shop when a woman at the old shop asked me to volunteer.

I’ve made good friends, good company, and it’s nice to sit and have a cup of tea and chat to people. Especially when you’re getting older, it gets you out of the house. The first thing people ask when they come in is ‘how much do you get paid?’ But of course we don’t do it for money, we do it for the love of doing it.

It’s lovely down here in Port Pirie; I’ve lived here all my life and a lot of my family is here.

I think I’ve helped people in this role. We might have a few disagreements sometimes but people normally take it the right way. I go home each day with a bag from the Op Shop but I’m learning not to take too much. All my clothes are secondhand but I don’t care.

It’s a hard place out there now, hard times. The way the world is today, it’s all about recycling. Then when you get sick of the clothes, you can donate them back!

If someone was interested in volunteering, I’d tell them to just come down and see what it’s like. Some of the challenges we face come from the fact that the place has gotten bigger and there are more things around. We’ve been in this bigger store for many years now but we need a bigger one still. When I was young I wanted to be a hairdresser but I ended up working as a carer. Old people have a lot of wisdom and you learn from them as you go.

I used to work away, looking after children, before I became a carer. I read a lot of books. I just choose a cover I like, take the book down and read it. If you’re not enjoying it, just take it back. I like murder mysteries but not romance. In terms of music, I like Country and Western and especially Willie Nelson.

If I had the choice of riding a bike, a horse or driving a car, I’d choose the bike. I don’t know how I’d go now because I haven’t ridden one in about eight years. If I was comparing myself with any animal it would be a dog because I love dogs. I haven’t got one at the moment but I love a little dog.

If I had the choice of going anywhere on holiday it’d be down the peninsula, anywhere where there’s water. I like to walk along the beach and look at the houses and gardens. I’m a little bit of a gardener. If they grow they grow, and if they die you just plant more! I like pretty flowers, just anything.

If I had a superpower, it wouldn’t be flying because I don’t like flying. Probably it’d be running fast so I could get places a lot quicker. My advice to people is just to enjoy yourself because we don’t know how long we’re going to be here, do we?