Ruth holds it together

Ruth holds it together


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TREASURED MEMORIES: Volunteer of the Year People's Choice nominee Ruth Anderson with two mementos - a ladder and open sign - from the Nulsen Op Shop which she ran for 50 years before it closed.

TREASURED MEMORIES: Volunteer of the Year People's Choice nominee Ruth Anderson with two mementos - a ladder and open sign - from the Nulsen Op Shop which she ran for 50 years before it closed.

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After more than three decades of working in an op shop dedicated to helping people with complex disability, Ruth Anderson is in the running for a special volu...

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After more than three decades of working in an op shop dedicated to helping people with complex disability, Ruth Anderson is in the running for a special volunteering award.

Ruth became a member of the Ladies' Auxiliary of Nulsen Disability Services after her oldest son David went into the organisation's care.

She soon became the glue that made the Nulsen Op Shop, which opened in East Victoria Park in 1967, a big success.

Ruth's efforts have earned her a nomination in the People's Choice Spirit of Volunteering category of the WA Volunteer of the Year awards.

The 75-year-old said the years of sorting stock, arranging rosters, and interacting with customers were entertaining and interesting.

"We had a huge variety of clothing and bric-a-brac for sale and people would come in and regularly check out our stock," she said.

"It was really good fun and we raised a lot of money."

Ruth kept the shop going until its 50th anniversary in 2017.

"We were all getting older and I knew I couldn't keep running it myself," she said.

High note

The team went out on a high knowing that over the 50 years an estimated $1.8 million had been raised for residents and Nulsen projects.

Their Make-A-Wish program granted thousands of wishes for residents, including holidays, outings, furniture, clothing, specialised equipment and the funding of Nulsen's first psychologist.

Ruth has kept two souvenirs from her op shop days: the original open/closed sign that hung on the front door for 50 years and the shop's step ladder.

"I was always climbing up that ladder to put something on a shelf or pull something down so I wasn't going to part with it," she said.

"I still use it all the time; I love it."

Voted for online by fellow citizens, the award celebrates an individual who is an "unsung hero" who has enhanced the lives of others and the community through their volunteering.

The awards will be announced at the National Volunteer Week Gala Awards presentation and dinner at the Crown Perth on May 22. Awards will be handed out in eight categories.

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