By Margaret Maccoll
Who would have thought in this age of Internet that collecting stamps would be a lucrative way of fundraising?
Fortunately Ross Paine did.
Through his work with Lions the Mountain Creek resident has raised many thousands to provide mobility to disabled children and this year earned an OAM in the Queen’s Honours list.
“I couldn’t believe it,“ he said of the award. “It was the furtherest thing from my mind.“
The retired bank manager began joining service clubs in the 1960s to meet people in the towns he was posted to across NSW and PNG.
His first Lions Club membership was with Kavieng in PNG where he was posted in 1967. He resigned from Lions in 1970 when he and his wife were busy raising children and returned in 1985.
Having been a stamp collector, in 1992 he joined forces with a fellow-Figtree Lions Club member, who has since passed away, to collect stamps and sell them as a fundraising venture.
“I just wanted to serve the community,” he said. “From there it just took off.
“People would give their stamps to us – whole collections, unwanted stamps. These collections are floating around – no one wants them.”
In the past year the Lions Stamp Club collected 400kg of stamps that were sold mostly to Asian collectors at the Philatelic Association of NSW auctions, raising $50,000.
All the money raised goes towards the Australian Lions Children’s Mobility Foundation to provide walking frames to children with cerebral palsy.
“When they’re four to five years old they go into the frames,” Ross said.
“Their legs won’t hold them. They’re strapped into them until they’re about 12 or 13 and they go into a wheelchair. Each one costs $7000-$8000 with $1000 a year for the next few years to adjust them.
“It’s been a lovely labour of love. I was fortunate early on to see a kid fitted with a walking frame. It brought tears to the eyes.
“They can be upright, they can move for the first time. It’s just amazing. It opens up a whole world to them.”
Ross has held various positions at various Lions clubs including president, secretary, treasurer and regional chairman as well as secretary and treasurer of Australian Chapter Lions International Stamp Club.
He is currently a member of Tewantin Noosa Lions, a club he regards as the most active he has ever seen and is always on the lookout for stamps.
“We ask people sending stamps to clip around the stamp leaving about 4mm (1/8“) of paper around the stamp. Every stamp donated is sent to auction and every cent raised is passed on to the Foundation,“ he said.
“We will also happily accept unwanted collections, first day covers, post office packs in fact any items of philatelic interest.“
To donate stamps phone Ross on 0419 449 881 or email email@example.com