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Lilydale auxiliary a vital support
Members of Lilydale auxiliary can recall items they’ve bought for the brigade – either in part or in full – going back to the 1970s.
Back then it was a pool table for the fire station but now they are more likely to put funds towards audio visual equipment, protective gear, a defibrillator, developing the station’s courtyard, and a share of the Lilydale car which turns out with pumper strike teams.
"Ninety-nine per cent of the catering is paid for," explained Gwen Corbett, a member for 30 years and the chief shopper. "The prices are very reasonable so we don’t make a huge profit. We might have three jobs in a week and we’ll provide anything from breakfast or refreshments through to a roast and cater for special diets. We catered for 70 last CFA Sunday and there were 70 or 80 at our auxiliary’s 50th celebrations last year.
"If you live in Lilydale and you haven’t had one of our sandwiches then you’re not really involved in the community."
All auxiliary members are non-operational. They enjoy fine-tuning their skills and doing courses that teach them more about CFA. The 13 members range in age from mid 30s to almost 80 with new members welcome.
"We work very well as a team," said Val Oliver, a member for 50 years. "There’s never been any friction but there have been a lot of laughs. Most of us started as young mothers and we could balance being with our children. One of us might look after a group of children, freeing the others up to cook.
"You feel proud to be part of an organisation that responds to disaster. You used to rely on your neighbours but now CFA is like that good neighbour. CFA will always be there."