Salvos pay tribute

PERTH council has put up signs effectively banning charities from collecting in the Perth station pedestrian overpass, but the Salvation Army says they won’t contest the rule.

Salvo collector Shirley Mort retired last year after collecting $1.7 million for charity over her 26-year volunteering career (“Charities bounced?”, Voice, March 18). On Australia Day Perth council chose her for one of its Citizens of the Year awards.

It was a valuable spot as commuters often had spare change after buying a train ticket or a coffee, but recently Perth staff put up grammatically-shaky signs enforcing a longstanding rule that bans “sitting, standing, laying [sic]” in the underpass.

Warren Palmer from the Salvos says they won’t argue the call. “If that’s the decision that the location is not available, we’ll always respect and abide by that.”

Commitment

He explained it was less the spot that was important and more about Mrs Mort herself and her tenacity in getting out there three to four days a week.

“Such was the impact that Shirley had, the commitment, the sacrifices she made, unfortunately we don’t have anyone to step into her shoes anyway.”

Long a fixture on her station spot, Mrs Mort’s in a retirement home these days and her memory’s fading, but Mr Palmer says he recently stopped by to deliver her Australia Day Citizen of the Year award and it put a huge smile on her face.

“She had such an impact on so many people. She was out there three or four days a week, rain, hail or shine, out there and connecting with the community.”

After our story last week Voice reader Val Marsden wrote in to inform us that along with the homeless and charity collectors, “the Big Issue sellers seem to have disappeared too which is a shame”.

by DAVID BELL

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