Long-term volunteer ‘santa’ retires

Volunteers article written on the 07 Mar 2014

Christmas time is one of the busiest times of the year, especially for Brian. Every year, for the past 27 years, Brian has volunteered to run Oxfam’s annual Christmas Tree Fundraiser. He’s delivered thousands of Christmas trees and helped raise millions of dollars for Oxfam’s development work across the world. 

Brian said the job came a close second to being Santa himself.

“You’ll see kids running down the hallway, excited about the arrival of the Christmas trees…the experience it’s given me has been one of joy.”

Brian was supported by a team of dedicated volunteers, including the four-wheel-drive clubs who generously donate their own vehicles, fuel and time. Brian said he’d often been thanked by the volunteer drivers who’d enjoyed a positive volunteering experience.

Sadly, this year, we say farewell to the long-term community fundraiser — though we can’t say he hasn’t earned a rest. Brian has delivered an average of 3000 trees to homes across Melbourne each year.

A farewell event was held in recognition of Brian’s personal contributions to Oxfam’s fundraising efforts. During this event, Oxfam’s Chief Executive, Helen Szoke, spoke of Brian’s incredible achievements and presented him with a gift of thanks for his tireless efforts and outstanding commitment to Oxfam.

Besides the  drivers, Brian paid homage to his wife Catherine, Diamond Valley Group members Beth Pender and Elizabeth Stewart, as well as Oxfam’s very own volunteers Chris Rawlinson and Kevin McNair (pictured with Brian and Catherine) who have been assisting Brian since the early days of the fundraiser. Together they’ve collectively been volunteering for Oxfam for almost 40 years.