All Hail Lady Margaret

She’s not married to a Lord but she did add a few letters to her name this year when honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to children with special needs. It’s an acknowledgement Margaret White feels humbled by as she’s only been doing “what I can, when I can”.

It was a pleasant surprise to grab some time with Marg for this profile because every November she and a number of other incredibly inspiring women organise a Christmas party for 5000 kids, yep, you heard it right, 5000.

Marg is the President of the Ladies of Variety (LOV), a dedicated group of volunteers who organise events for children on behalf of Variety the Children’s Charity.

Essentially their job is to get kids whose quality of life isn’t always so great smiling and playing. It’s an invaluable service that is by no means a walk in the park. Ever tried getting amusement rides, entertainment, party food and presents from Santa for 5000 kids free of charge? Well these ladies are experts at it and do so gladly because they’ve seen first hand what a difference a day makes.

“For me it all began with the only other female member of the Mothers Association at my son’s school” laughs Marg, “we got chatting and she mentioned belonging to a group of women who organised activities for children with special needs. She invited me to a meeting and twenty three years later I am still here!”

“Everyone has skills and abilities or particular talents that LOV can use” explains Marg, “perhaps it’s in arts and craft, initiating new projects or simply being an enthusiastic helper. Of course a non judgemental attitude and compassion for children is a must”.

Being an LOV however is not for everyone cautions Marg. “It can be confronting to work with some of these children especially those with high needs. However being told that a child has done something for the very first time like a smile, a word, or a movement as a result of taking part in a LOV activity is just so rewarding.”

Snapshot of a Lady: Mrs Margaret Helen White

  • President, Ladies of Variety, since 2003.
  • Coordinator, Volunteer activities.
  • Coordinator/Manager, Children’s Christmas Party, Darling Harbour, for the past 14 years.
  • Board Member, for 7 years.
  • Member, Appeals and Grants Committee, for 11 years.
  • Volunteer, since 1987.

Children? “Two boys – Peter and Tim. Peter was killed in road accident when he was 25. It was an indescribably tough time. He left a beautiful wife and 10 month old son, Matt, who is now 15. I also have a granddaughter, Jessica who is 2 years 4 months old. Both are treasures of course!”

Favourite park? “I have two. Fagan Park in Galston and Bicentennial Park, in Homebush”.

Favourite kid’s song? “At the moment it’s The Wiggles singing Old Macdonald had a Farm – Jessica and I love it”. 

Ladies of Variety (LOV) is a group of women who volunteer their time to bring fun and enjoyment into the lives of ill, disadvantaged and special needs children. They organise weekday activities including picnics at special schools, ice skating sessions, discos, harbour cruises and much more.

If you have an inkling you want to make a difference and willingness to do what you can, when you can then please contact Margaret through the Variety NSW office on: 02 9819 1000 – You won’t be disappointed.

Author: Sharon Quill

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