A box full of honour

Dot Wade, centre, with Dandenong RSL president John Wells and Cardinia Men's Shed Pakenham members John Buckley, Russell Wade and Ken Hordern. 260398_05 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Gabriella Payne

Members from Cardinia Men’s Shed Pakenham brought a special bespoke box for a tireless Dandenong RSL volunteer on Monday 6 December.

The men’s shed members had reached out to 97-year-old Dandenong great-grandmother Dot Wade after seeing her story on Channel Nine just a few weeks ago – and it’s clear to see why they were inspired by her.

For 60 years now, Ms Wade has been tirelessly selling red poppies to support veterans and their families for Remembrance Day and has single-handedly raised thousands of dollars for the Dandenong RSL Club.

Before her late husband Jack passed away in 2015, the pair (who were married for 70 years) used to sell poppies together throughout the local area, and it’s something she’s continued on with since his passing.

With Jack having fought in the Second World War, Dot knew firsthand the tolls war can have on a person and she and her husband were always passionate about helping other returned soldiers and their families.

Dot said that when the men’s shed reached out to her with the hopes of giving her their handmade gift, she was absolutely delighted.

“I think it’s just absolutely wonderful,“ Dot said.

“I think that’s one of the nicest things that’s ever been done for me.

“I have a little table at home which I call my remembrance table with a picture of my daughter [who passed away] and Jack and things like that on it, so this is going to sit pride of place on the table,“ she said.

Dot said that her late husband “just loved people“ and was always giving back to the community.

She said that to receive this beautiful handmade box, made from recycled timber, was just amazing and it would be the perfect place for Jack’s many war medals.

“It means so much to me,“ she said.

“To think that this has all come about now, the family is just going to be so proud – it’s his legacy living on.“