It is the magic in her hands and the love in her heart that has fuelled 92-year-old Eveleena Hardiker’s passion for a lifetime association with the Australian Red Cross.
A valued member of the Childers Red Cross, Eveleena was honoured on Thursday with the awarding of her 30 year service gold bar.
Eveleena, who joined the Red Cross as a 16-year-old in Victoria towards the end of the Second World War, continues to use the skills she exhibited as a teenager when called upon to alter uniforms and to sew on insignia for both Army and Air Force service personnel.
These days Eveleena is an absolute factory in producing the famed Red Cross Trauma Teddies.
“I think that over the past few years the numbers I have knitted must be getting up to around 2000 teddies,” Eveleena said.
“I finished 13 over the past couple of days and actually put the finishing touches to one this morning,” she laughed.
“I have always had some form of association with the Red Cross, even when I moved around and there was no local branch.
“The Red Cross used to send me information and I liked to be able to help where I could.”
Painting also a passion for Eveleena Hardiker
In addition to her knitting skills Eveleena also has a flair for art and relishes the opportunity to paint.
“I enjoy the company of my fellow members and also enjoy the work I do with the senior citizens group in Biggenden.
“I’m pretty much left to my own devices when it comes to the help I can offer.
“Since I had my hip replacements – three on this side and two on the other – they pretty much leave me alone,” she said.
Eveleena said her husband, 10 years her junior, drove her to her meetings.
“The only thing I drive these days is people mad,” she said, roaring with laughter.
Childers Red Cross President Patricia Fuller said Eveleena, who had been with the Childers group for around 12 years, was a powerhouse when it came to knitting the teddies.
“We have a small but very effective group of ladies and everyone contributes to our work,” she said.
“I think Eveleena proves that age is no barrier to anyone who wants to contribute their time and talents to help the community.”
Patricia said Childers Red Cross was established in 1914 and had a proud 107 year history.
Trauma Teddies very comforting
Eveleena said she always carried a couple of the Trauma Teddies with her in case she encountered highway accidents.
“They are just a small thing but can be very comforting,” she said.
In addition to the teddies, Eveleena also knits small Christmas trees complete with sweet treats which are regularly presented to hospital patients.
Childers Wesleyan Methodist Church Pastor Alan Brown presented Eveleena Hardiker with her service bar and accompanying citation.
“Eveleena epitomises the vision of the Red Cross which holds that everyone has a right to live in safety, dignity and peace.
“You (Eveleena) discovered something that the one who gives us Christmas said and that is that it is better to give than to receive,” said Pastor Brown.
“You learn a lot more about what you are on the Earth for when you give to others.”
Red Cross Trauma Teddies were first produced in 1990.
More than one million of the comfort items have been knitted by Red Cross volunteers.
The teddies have found their way to many places around the world where disaster has struck.
Earthquake zones, bushfire survivors and 500 teddies were sent to New York in the wake of the September 11 attacks.