MORAL SUPPORT: Cindy Marsh and Ian Stalker came up from Sydney to enjoy lunch with Cindy’s parents in Lions park.
MORAL SUPPORT: Cindy Marsh and Ian Stalker came up from Sydney to enjoy lunch with Cindy’s parents in Lions park. Mike Richards GLAPARK

Park party stays family affair

IT WAS a Christmas gesture no one took advantage of.

Weeks ago the Marshes put out the call for any local residents to join them in Lions Park for a day of celebration and togetherness.

At 2pm the couple set up for an afternoon of joy complete with prawns, drinks and home-made bonbons and Christmas cupcakes.

Mrs Marsh said that although no one but her daughter and he partner showed up, it was the thought that counted.

"The point is we did it," she said. "I had envisaged kids playing on the playground and families having a game of cricket and a good socialise, but never mind.

"I just wanted to be here for anyone that needed to be with someone at Christmas."

The process or organising this Christmas event was a massive achievement for Mrs Marsh personally.

"I've suffered with anxiety and being an introverted person my whole life, to the point where I'd feel physically sick meeting new people," she said.

"So after much deliberation I thought, no, I'm going to put myself out there and be open to anyone that needs company."

To support Lorraine and Don, their daughter Cindy and partner Ian Stalker drove up from Sydney to spend the day and offer moral support.

"Mum feels really content now," said Cindy. "It's so good to be together and considering Christmas Day is a day with one of the highest number of suicides and depression she knew it would be a good community thing to do."

Now that the fear of hosting a strangers event is over Mr and Mrs Marsh are already planing next year's get-together.

"We'll definitely do it different next year," she said.

"We'll advertise with local shops more and really get the word out.

"My daughter has told me about a website, meetup.com, where I'll post details of the day, so keep an eye out."

Lorraine's Christmas wish is that Don is still with them this time next year, not only to see the meet, but for their 50th wedding anniversary.



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