Spend a morning with Margaret McNaughton and be inspired.
Mrs McNaughton is a patron and board member of Ronald McDonald House and has seen the charity grow from the time the Newcastle house was a plan on paper to the far-reaching service it provides to families in need today.
The former lady mayoress of Newcastle has never waivered in helping others. She became involved in charity work at the age of 12 when she started playing her piano accordion at charity concerts.
She continues to share her piano accordion with the elderly at aged care facilities and community groups such as Morpeth Uniting Church Ladies’ Fellowship group, where she will be the guest speaker at a morning tea to raise money for Ronald McDonald House tomorrow.
“We were the first house outside the metropolitan area and it was a big undertaking; we weren’t sure if families would come,” Mrs McNaughton said.
“My friend had an experience with her daughter having to go to Sydney and she didn’t have anything like a [Ronald McDonald] house where she could stay.
“Helping became an addiction for me, I got sold on the idea and 25 years later I’m still here. I have watched it from a sketch on a piece of paper.
“We have a house at Tamworth and a family room at Gosford and at John Hunter hospital.
“We have 12 rooms with ensuites and six two bedroom units for families with children who need long-term care that are fully self-contained.”
Mrs McNaughton said the charity had also started a learning program to help children who were in hospital for long periods.
“Children lose their self-confidence and self-esteem and often don’t want to go back to school,” she said.
“The program stops them from dropping out of school; it is a one-on-one tutoring program and it helps rebuild their confidence.”
Mrs McNaughton said the charity would not be a success without the 200-plus volunteers.
Everyone is welcome to attend the morning tea at Morpeth Uniting Church hall at 10am. Entry is $5 a person.
Phone Sue on 4930 5782 or Marj on 4930 5355 to confirm your attendance.