Aileen Thornett: full of wise words

Tiffany DavyCountryman
Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days volunteer Aileen Thornett.
Camera IconDowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days volunteer Aileen Thornett. Credit: Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days

There are some people words cannot define, and Aileen Thornett is one.

She radiates kindness, always greets with a hug and is quick with a smile. It was by fate that she arrived in Dowerin and the community feels very lucky to have her.

After a few years of living on her late husband’s farm, it was sold, but she made it clear that she would not move back to Perth.

“I told him that he could go, but I was staying ... so we both stayed,” she said.

Though not originally a country girl, regional roots had been instilled.

She now runs the local second-hand store, is on the committee for Uniting Church and Country Women’s Association, is involved in the local paper, treasurer of the age care homes, president of Red Cross for the region and runs the LJ Metcalf catering pavilion with Lorna Fairlie during the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days.

She is a mother to one, grandmother to two and great-grandmother to three — not to mention being a devoted friend to anyone she comes across.

So why volunteer? Ms Thornett was searching for a sense of purpose after the loss of five baby boys and, finally, her husband.

“I went to the doctor and he said that I was on the path to depression. So, I decided to go and see where I could help,” she said.

Now, whenever Ms Thornett sets foot in one of the many venues she volunteers at, that’s her focus.

Her advice: “Life shakes you, but I take it one day at a time. Remember, time heals.”

To anyone going through a difficult stage in their life, Ms Thornett thinks it is important to seek advice, ask for help and always remember there is someone there who is willing to listen.

She said volunteering gave a sense of purpose and the ability to meet people from all walks of life, not to mention interesting experiences.

One year, she arrived at the field days site only to discover the boilers used to cook frankfurts had been knocked over in a storm, with the sausages floating away and the marquee lying flat on top of it all. She now laughs, but it might have been a different reaction.

If she could tell her 21-year-old self anything, it would have been to start volunteering and join the field days.

“Create a sense of belonging, a reason to leave the house and, remember, the house work will always be there,” she said.

Countryman has partnered with the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days to celebrate the stories of the people who bring this event to life.

From humble beginnings, the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days has grown into one of WA’s biggest regional events, in part fostered by the support of the many volunteers, visitors and exhibitors who bring it to life. As part of a new series, Countryman is proud to bring its readers a snapshot of these stories, as compiled by assistant event co-ordinator Tiffany Davey.

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