by Boni Holmes
AFTER 50 years of being a volunteer supporter for the Endeavour Foundation, Joan Massingham called it a day.
That was a year ago and today, Thursday, December 14, Mrs Massingham's incredible lifetime contribution to Endeavour Foundation was acknowledged with an Honorary Life Membership by Chief Executive Officer Andrew Donne and Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders.
The Maryborough local is described by current and former Endeavour Foundation staff as legendary for her achievements and quality of character, and known by fellow Area Committee members as a tireless worker who was always there giving support.
Mr Donne said an Honorary Life Membership was the highest honour Endeavour Foundation could bestow on its members, but was just a token in comparison with the extraordinary and unwavering efforts Mrs Massingham had made over 52 years.
"Mrs Massingham's her first contact with Endeavour Foundation was when she attended the opening of "Caringa” School in 1964 with her husband Barry and children.
"Their son Gregory began attending Caringa in 1968 and in those days the Massinghams and other families threw themselves into fundraising to pay for the building, teacher salaries and school resources.
"Families realised the need for meaningful training and job opportunities after school, so their next goal was to build a workshop for 50 people with a disability, with the help of the local Jaycee Services Club.
"This was the beginning of the thriving Disability Enterprise we still have in Maryborough today, and we are forever in the debt of the Massinghams and other local families whose vision made employment a real possibility for people with a disability in this region,” Mr Donne said.
Wide Bay Area Committee Chairman Bevan Suter said Mrs Massingham's exhaustive fundraising efforts included recycling rags, bottles, newspapers and clothing, running fetes, pub raffles, baby shows, Miss Toddler and Miss Teen shows, balls, art union raffles and telethons.
As a member of the Wide Bay Area Committee her focus was expanded to a wider area, where she offering her expertise, experience and support to activities in Gympie, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.
Mr Suter said Mrs Massingham's motivation was her belief in the principle of giving and caring for people, and even down to her letter of resignation, in which she encouraged other families to become members of Endeavour Foundation, and share their expertise and support.
"It has been an honour and privilege to have known and served with Joan and I am sure there are many past staff and members who would support this recognition,” Mr Suter said.
Mrs Massingham said she was very humbled by the honour.
"The Endeavour Foundation has been a part of my life's formation, and runs in my blood,” she said.
"The honour was completely unexpected especially after resigning last year.
"I was so moved so see the whole of the Area Group Committee and 50 workers in green shirts - this is my legacy.
"50 years ago was the basis of this foundation, of the school which my son Gregory started in 1968.
"He has worked at the Business Service in Maryborough for 37 years, has 2000 sick leave hours, loves coming to work, nothing would stop him - this has been worth more than a pot of gold to me.”
Mrs Massingham said she held the foundation very close to her heart.
"What they offered my son helped our family to live a normal life, I am indebted to this association,” she said.
"As I have said before the Endeavour Foundation is part of my DNA, I cannot speak highly enough of management and staff.”