Jul 07, 2023

Centenarian crowned Corrimal’s oldest Vinnies volunteer

Annie began volunteering in 1976 and has no plans to stop. [Source: Adam McLean]

Having just clicked over to the triple digits, 100-year-old Annie Kersten has no plans to stop volunteering at her local Vinnies charity shop.

Annie has been volunteering for nearly half her life at the Vinnies in Corrimal, New South Wales, where she prices and positions donated bric-a-brac – making her the region’s oldest volunteer.

Having celebrated her centenary on the first of this month, Annie spends half a day each fortnight at the store and takes pride in her job.

“I like to do something, my motto is ‘just keep moving’ and it’s a good job to help people out and make some money for the poor,” she told the Illawarra Mercury.

Having fled to Australia from the Netherlands after the Second World War with her late husband, William, and two children, Annie and William began volunteering with St Vincent De Paul in 1976.

Annie’s daughter, Wilma Kersten, said volunteering has always been in their blood.

“Dad always said you need to give back to the community – me and my sister are in the Lions Club and last year mum joined the Lions Club of Wollongong at age 99,” she also told the Illawarra Mercury.

“Volunteering is also a comfort for [mum], it provides a strong social connection, and she always insists on being here at 9am sharp because that’s when work starts. She’s very committed.”

Vinnies area manager, Sarah Harris, said it was an honour to have Annie volunteer and that it is inspiring to see the effects of her lifetime of commitment.

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