Annette Murray from Bellyful Franklin shares her volunteering story for National Volunteer Week 2022.
I was inspired to join Bellyful as it involved cooking which is something I enjoy. It was even more interesting when I found out that there were simple recipes that were cooked in an equipped kitchen where all volunteers came together on a particular day so everyone was together for a common purpose. I have attended Cookathons as they are called and found it extremely rewarding, mixing with a group of women where I only knew one other person but all the other women have been very friendly and made me feel welcome.
I had heard about Bellyful before I joined the organisation as a volunteer. I knew that it had been founded by a local person. I am a retired school teacher, who saw a brochure at my local library and emailed the coordinator. When she contacted me, we had just had some previous contact with each other through working for the Electoral Commission in the 2020 Election. That made it easier to attend a Cookathon as she was able to introduce me to the other volunteers.
As a school teacher I have many skills that can be used in a variety of positions and find that my interests reflect this also. I read widely and there are always holds on library books. My garden is a source of pleasure and I potter every day enjoying being outside. Since retirement, my exercise pleasure is that I swim every day, which I love. I have a newly bought e-bike which I ride to the pool each day and often sees me enjoying country roads around Pukekohe and the many bike trails around NZ. I have also made myself a volunteer for Hospice and am in the process of volunteering at the Women’s’ Rugby World Cup later in the year.
My husband, Peter, is also a retired school teacher, and we have lived in the Franklin area for over 30 years. We built a house on a lifestyle block in Bombay in the days when self-builds were abundant. When we moved into our house, the only room with walls and a door was the loo! As we worked and saved, the house was built as the land was worked and a large garden developed. Our answerphone message used to say” Annette’s in the garden and Peter’s digging another hole.” Our two kids, Fiona and Eric attended Bombay School and Pukekohe High School. Fiona is a creative writer and copywriter working and living in Christchurch. Eric has brought us much pleasure and pride as he was part of the rowing duo of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, double Olympic gold medallists and many-time World Champions in the men’s pair. Eric is the main caregiver of our autistic nonverbal 10-year-old grandson, Zac. We spend regular time in Cambridge helping Eric when he has speaking engagements or television commitments as has just been the case while Eric participated in Dancing With The Stars.