Husband and wife John and Ellen Kilpatrick have been helping hands behind multiple Hunter community organisations, in some cases for more than 40 years.
Taking on the risk management, financial responsibility and administration of a community group as a volunteer is not the most glamorous job but, as Mr Kilpatrick explains, someone has got to do it.
“If you have got the skills I guess it’s good to try and use them,” the 82-year-old said.
A former solicitor and mayor of Lake Macquarie, Mr Kilpatrick said he felt that by serving on boards of community organisations he could harness his management skills for “the benefit of the community”.
He has been the chairman of Charlestown Meals on Wheels for the past 35 years. The service's coordinator described Mr Kilpatrick as the "life blood" of the organisation.
Up until last year he also served on the board of Samaritans, a stint that lasted 34 years. He served on the board of Anglican Care for 45. He has also been an active member of the Lions Club for 50 years.
“I’ve got to be honest I don’t think enough credit is given to volunteers who spend time on boards," Mr Kilpatrick said. "You’re responsibility is that basically everything goes right, and you’re doing it on a free basis."
“For Meals on Wheels the biggest responsibility is risk management, ensuring all the meals are wholesome and well presented. There’s got to be risk management for all the volunteers working in the kitchen, driving and delivering.
“The board has to make sure, financially, you stay solvent.Then there are various people I have to liaise with, including NSW Meals and Wheels, and there’s always plenty of forms to be filled in and checked up on.
“I don’t mind, it’s an opportunity to give something back. It’s not stressful but it’s constant.”
Working alongside Mr Kilpatrick is his wife Ellen.
Ellen has delivered Meals on Wheels for the past 45 years and also serves on the board.
Mr Kilpatrick says she has “given time and support” to “all” of the activities he has put his hand up for.
When Mr Kilpatrick retired as mayor in 2004, Lake Macquarie council made Ellen the first ever female “Freeman of the City” in recognition of her assistance to volunteer groups during her husband’s tenure.
Mr Kilpatrick now accompanies Ellen on her monthly Meals on Wheels delivery run.
The 82-year-old and 79-year-old say they feel fortunate to be able to perform the service together.
“We’re very grateful to still do it.
"It’s very mentally stimulating," Mr Kilpatrick said.