Albury Legacy administration officer retires after 26 years

LEAVING A LEGACY: Administration officer Frances Jardine has helped hundreds of war widows since she began with Albury Legacy in 1990. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

LEAVING A LEGACY: Administration officer Frances Jardine has helped hundreds of war widows since she began with Albury Legacy in 1990. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

ALBURY Legacy’s “Girl Friday” is moving on.

TEAM EFFORT: Albury Legacy's Colin Darts, Fred Baum, Lisa Iverson, Frances Jardine, Steve Comte and Geoff Thow work together to support war widows and their children. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

TEAM EFFORT: Albury Legacy's Colin Darts, Fred Baum, Lisa Iverson, Frances Jardine, Steve Comte and Geoff Thow work together to support war widows and their children. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

For 26 years, Frances Jardine has helped the community organisation make life a little easier for the widows and children of deceased service personnel.

Now the administration officer is retiring to enjoy more time with her own family, which includes nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“You’ve got to make a decision sometime, haven’t you?” she said. “And I would like to leave on a happy note. It’s just been so much fun.”

Her duties will now be shared between Legatees and welfare officer Lisa Iverson.

Back in 1990 Mrs Jardine hadn’t really known much about Legacy and its work.

“Looking after Mum and the kids, so I learned that very quickly,” she said.

Officially her role has included correspondence and keeping the database up to date, but Albury Legacy president Fred Baum said she did much more than that.

“Every one of our widows loves Frances because she does a hell of a lot with them,” Mr Baum said. “They all take their little stories to Frances and she fixes up their little worries for them.”

Albury Legacy supports more than 700 war widows and Mrs Jardine said it had been a pleasure working for such a worthwhile group.

“The volunteers just give everything that they’ve got, they’re just so passionate and they’re just lovely,” she said.

One of Mrs Jardine’s most satisfying experiences with Legacy was a project in her spare time, typing up the diary of former prisoner of war John Roxburgh.

“That meant a lot to me because he meant a lot to me,” she said.

Mr Roxburgh, a retired Albury accountant who died in 2011 aged 91, had asked Mrs Jardine for assistance.

“One Anzac Day, I can’t remember the year, I started typing it at home, and every now and then I’d do some,” Mrs Jardine said.

“There were times when I’d just say, ‘I can't type this anymore, it’s too much’.

“I mean, what those men went through was phenomenal. To think that I was allowed to hold that diary, to take it home with me, was wonderful, and I treasure those memories.”

Mr Baum said Mrs Jardine had been a great asset.

“Everyone in Legacy is going to miss Frances,” he said.

“We’d love to keep her but we know she’s got to look after herself and find her own way and have her own time with her family now.”

This story Her pleasure to serve first appeared on The Border Mail.