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Volunteer retires after nearly two decades of service

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​THE picturesque views peeking out from the windows of George Mockler House strongly resonate with Jocelyn Jackett. She has seen more than 6,200 suns set from these windows; met with hundreds of carers, guided thousands of residents – and retained countless heartfelt memories. Today, she bids the service goodbye, turning to offer some personal care to herself - after volunteering to care for others for 17 years.

Mrs Jackett fell into the volunteer service by pure chance, an opportunity she describes as "the right place and the right time". In an almost seamless transition from her work life in department store Grace Bros as a cashier, she was called on by a friend to act as secretary for the newly-formed leadership committee at George Mockler House upon retiring.

"It was simply by chance that I happened to get the role," says Jocelyn. "During that time I made a suggestion for a monthly bowls party to coincide with the residents' birthday celebrations, and it's been a monthly occurrence ever since the year 2000!" ​

Jocelyn's role in the service soon expanded once she saw the difference volunteering was making, not only in the residents' lives, but also her own. She decided to continue volunteering and accepted the additional role of Pastoral Carer, completing her Diploma in Pastoral Care.  

"Pastoral care is such a significant role for the residents and completing the Diploma of Pastoral Care enhanced that role, "she says. "It is equally as important to offer the residents mental and spiritual support along with their physical care."

Jocelyn's experiences can hardly be whittled down to a few favourite memories, she says, but there are select special moments that stand out in her years of service.

She describes an instance that occurred only recently, where she was privileged to be present during the completely coincidental rendezvous of two World War II veterans. The two English men served on different landing craft for the Royal British Navy during the D-Day landings at Normandy in June 1944. They came together at the same northern beaches service, just in time for the 2017 Anzac Day celebrations. Their friends, family and Carers were simply "blown away" by the twist of fate.

It was a moment Jocelyn describes as "utterly incredible".

It's moments like these that volunteers throughout Australia are most privileged to encounter, often by chance, and it's something that Jocelyn says kept her committed to the field for nearly two decades.

"The residents have given me a glimpse into their lives, and that's an honour," she says. "It's the connection I've made with the residents and their individual stories that's allowed me to enjoy this work for so long". 

"I really look forward to the next stage of my life, looking after my garden and spending time with my family. I'll certainly stay in touch with everyone of course. I always say to the residents; it's not goodbye, but see you soon."

In celebration of National Volunteers Week, Jocelyn encourages all who have the opportunity to take on volunteering at some point in their lives to do so.

"I'm just honoured and privileged to have been offered the opportunity to do what I've done," says Jocelyn. "I'd recommend volunteering to anyone – if you're prepared to say yes, you get so much back for what you give."

If you would like to get involved in volunteering for Catholic Healthcare, please get in touch with your local service or email