'Sweetheart' dedicating her life to helping others
FOR years Enid Machin has been one of Ipswich's most reliable volunteers.
She's that lady in the shopping centre selling raffle tickets for the local ambulance committee, the woman willing to make jams and cakes for the girls' scouts and the mother who never skipped out on tuckshop duty.
Enid lost her own mother quite young and said seeing her mum suffer towards the end fuelled a desire to help others wherever she could.
Enid Machin was born on November 11, 1936 in Rockhampton, where she grew up.
It was there she first joined St John Ambulance Committee as a teen, a decision that begins a life of volunteering her time - one she will never regret.
Enid's childhood was much like any other; each day she would walk the four or five miles home from school along Gladstone Rd and helped take care of her six siblings.
Enid's family was poor. Her father worked as a bush carpenter, moving from place to place building cattle dips and yards and was often away for weeks at a time, but the family got by.
Everything changed in 1954 when Enid's mother died at age 49.
Suddenly Enid found herself trying to manage the household, including doing everyone's washing.
Each Saturday morning for five years Enid was up before dawn, 3.45am, doing the weekly wash.
"I had one sister to help but I did most of the washing," Enid said.
"I would carry it all out to the clothes line and my sister hung it up.
"She always said she was too weak to carry it; she had an iron will though my sister."
In 1959 Enid married a man named Brian, a few years after she had joined the St John Ambulance Committee in Rockhampton where she had risen to the rank of superintendent.
When she fell pregnant in 1960 Enid gave up her position but stayed on the committee until their family, now with three children, moved to Townsville in 1964 chasing work on the railway.
It wasn't until 1966 when Brian, who was working as a clerk, landed a job at Redbank that Enid moved to Ipswich and began 50 years of devotion to the community.
For 25 years and two weeks Enid was on the Ladies Benefit Committee, raising money for the local ambulance brigade, for 10 years she was on the scout committee, for years she worked the tuckshops at Blair State School and Girls' Grammar and in 2012 Enid was named Senior Citizen of the Year.
Today Enid still sits on the Local Ambulance Committee although she admits her jam and cake making has slowed down.
In 2005 Enid was diagnosed with breast cancer and since has lost some motivation, although she still finds the energy to play indoor bowls.
"One day I was at a senior's concert and I got this awful pain that shot from my arm into my boob," Enid said.
"The whole time I was there it was dreadful."
Enid went straight to the doctor who examined her and then ordered some tests.
When the results came in Enid, 69 at the time, went to see a specialist doctor.
"They'd found a large lump that went from one side of my boob to the other," Enid said.
"The doctor told me I had three options; do nothing, have the lump taken out, or have the whole lot taken off."
The doctor offered to let Enid think it over, but she made the decision without hesitation and opted to have the breast removed.
"I've had friends who had the lump removed then had to go back and get the rest taken anyway. I thought why go through all that pain more than once.
"The cows used to get cancer of the udders and we just used to take the whole udder and they lived a long life.
"I never had any chemotherapy or radiation and that was 11 years ago now."
This year marks Enid's 45th year volunteering on the Ipswich Local Ambulance Committee, a job she loves.
"It's just something I like doing, to help other people where I can.
"You see people with a need and... my mum was crook before she died, maybe that's why I've always wanted to help people."