When Ethel Warne was only 19 years old she married her high school sweetheart.
It was 1947 and her beloved Noel Fleming Munn, or Chappie as he was known, had just returned from the Second World War.
Over the years they had six children (including two sets of twins) and around 20 grandchildren.
Chappie continued to serve in the Royal Australian Air Force for 36 years until Chappie and Et Munn retired back to their home town of Merimbula in 1980. Unfortunately Chappie passed away in January 2013.
Since this time, Et has tried to remain independent but she said life has been made much easier thanks to the support of Far South Coast Legacy.
Legacy is an Australian organisation, established in 1923 by ex-servicemen. The organisation has the aim of caring for the dependents of deceased Australian service men and women.
“They’re always there if you need them and always willing to help,” Ms Munn said.
Far South Coast Legacy financially, physically and emotionally supports 112 widows from Tura Beach down to Eden.
Far South Coast Legacy vice chair Pat de Gelder said they also arrange a variety of different outings each year.
“There are also around 22 ladies that we help by cutting their lawns when needed and other we just help them with tasks around the house,” Ms de Gelder said.
Fellow Legacy lady Betty Tuit whose husband also served in World War II and passed away in 2002 said Far South Coast Legacy had been invaluable to her.
“The Legacy people have been absolutely wonderful,” Ms Tuit said.
“I wasn’t fully aware of what they did but they have been so kind to me. It’s been essential to have this support. It has helped me to feel safe and secure.”
Legacy volunteers are busily preparing for one of their biggest annual fundraisers, the Legacy Week appeal. Legacy Week runs from Sunday August 27 until Saturday, August 2 – with Badge Day on Friday, September 1.
Local legatees and volunteers will be selling badges, scarves and teddies next week in Merimbula, Tura, Pambula and Eden. They are encouraging community members to say hello and purchase one of the many items to support war widows and their families.
But Far South Coast Legacy chair Peter Johnston said they are also looking for ongoing Legacy volunteers.
“You don’t have to be an ex-serviceman, we welcome anyone who wants to help the families of ex-service personnel,” Mr Johnston said.
To volunteer with Legacy email call 6495 9991 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.