War widows help Legacy live on in Dalby

GIVING BACK: June Shannon and Mary Phipps look after the stall for Legacy Week in Dalby Shoppingworld, selling badges and taking donations until today.
GIVING BACK: June Shannon and Mary Phipps look after the stall for Legacy Week in Dalby Shoppingworld, selling badges and taking donations until today. Elouise Quinlivan

MARY Phipps first received the help of Legacy when she was just a little girl.

The Dalby Legacy Laurel Group chairperson said she was given a birthday and Christmas present each year.

"My dad was in World War I, mum was a war widow," Ms Phipps said.

"It was only a small present, hankies or something a little child would like, and into my first year of university they helped me with money for books."

Ms Phipps joined Legacy about a decade ago, after becoming a war widow herself.

"My husband was in the navy during World War II and he eventually died of asbestos, which was related to being in the navy sadly," she said.

"He was down in the engine room and there was asbestos all around him and of course it was hot but it lay dormant for all those years."

Mary's husband, Col, died at 60, leaving the navy at 22 after fighting in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

"We are war widows and when our partners died a lot of us went into Legacy, who helps the families of the fallen soldiers and those who've been to war and died of war-related incidents," she said.

Both Mary and fellow member June Shannon are locals, with June living in Mitchell before moving to Dalby.

June has been a member of the Legacy group for more than a decade, joining after her husband passed away.

"We were married in 1950, he died of cancer at 67 after he had retired," June said.

"He served up in Darwin when they were bombing there then he went across to New Guinea and Borneo, I didn't know him then, I met him after."

She said her husband didn't speak much about his experience in the army, the men "tended not to" when they came home.

Mary said she has never known a time when there wasn't a conflict on.

"I'm waiting for when the land might lay down with the lions by I don't think it will ever come," she said.

"I have six grandsons and I pray they never have to go to war."

The group met at the RSL monthly until it closed, moving to the country club to meet on the first Monday of the month.

"It's a fellowship, we meet for lunch, chat and support one another," Mary said.

She said each year the stall sells out of badges due to the support of Dalby.

Topics:  dalby legacy week

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