LONG-TIME VOLUNTEER: Store manager Stacey Friend with volunteer Suzie Hepple.
LONG-TIME VOLUNTEER: Store manager Stacey Friend with volunteer Suzie Hepple. Liana Walker

Treasured volunteer celebrates 15 years

ONE of Stanthorpe's most beloved volunteers has celebrated her 15th anniversary as a Lifeline volunteer with a party and special awards.   

Lifeline Australia recently recognised Suzie Hepple's years of service with the presentation of a special Golden Wattle lapel badge and a certificate.

 Stanthorpe's Lifeline store manager Stacey Friend who works with Ms Hepple every week said the dedicated volunteer was treasured by the Lifeline community.

 "When we had her party it was really good that so many people turned up.

 "She's grown very close to a couple of other volunteers here," Miss Friend said. 

Ms Hepple, who has Down syndrome, volunteers at a number of places in Stanthorpe including a chemist and the Salvation Army.   

"Pretty much every day of the week she's got somewhere to go," Miss Friend said. 

 Nearly every Tuesday for the past 15 years that "somewhere" has been the Lifeline store in Rogers St.

"I remember they were trying to change her day at one point and we thought we were going to lose her," Miss Friend said.  

She said Ms Hepple was great to work with.

 "She's always happy, she's very affectionate, she gives you cuddles and kisses all of the time," she said.

When Ms Hepple is at Lifeline, you will most likely see her in the back area doing her favourite task - sorting out the clothes. 

"She loves hanging clothes but don't ever ask her to dust," Miss Friend said.

"She loves sorting hangers out, packing away old stock. 

"She has an order, everything has to go a certain way."  

When asked why she likes working at the store Ms Hepple said

"I like meeting new people. It's nice. I like to help everyone and to continue working."  

Miss Friend said Ms Hepple was also loved by  their regular customers.

 "She's known around town, she's very, very popular," she said.   

Miss Friend said she expected Ms Hepple would stay at Lifeline for a long time.  

"I do enjoy my time with her, I really do.   

"I look forward to Tuesdays."  

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