Imagine this; Maureen Dugmore (pictured left) and Cheryl Cox have for 40 years stood alongside each other and asked someone: “… would you like sauce with your pie?”
Meet the amazing canteen ladies of the Goolwa Magpies, who have worked tirelessly together in the canteen helping the football and netball clubs on home games from seven sharp in the morning until five in the afternoon.
Now it has all ended. They worked together for the last time a fortnight ago because Cheryl, 68, was heading for a well-earned holiday in Queensland, and with Maureen, 78, they will both officially step down at the end of the season as the champion canteen ladies at Goolwa.
Maureen started working in the canteen in 1966 helping her mum, Gladys Dunbar, who ran the canteen from the very first day it started in 1953, and Cheryl followed in 1974.
“We were here when our sons started playing football as little kids and we saw them retire,” Maureen said.
“My boys Mark and Paul haven’t played for more than 25 years, and Cheryl’s lad Dwayne hasn’t played for a long time either, but we have kept on going in the canteen because we have always enjoyed it. We just love the club.
“Cheryl and I have been great friends from all this, and we’ve shared a lot of family social outings. We enjoy the atmosphere of a home game of footy; the people are special. We have had a lot of fun times.”
Cheryl had been helping in the canteen for only a year when Goolwa won three grand flags in a row from 1975-77, and the Magpies haven’t won another one since. “It’s time for another one,” she said.
“I kept on working here because I wanted to put something back into the club for what we, as a family, have got out of it. We have played tennis, my son played football and my husband Bill coached the footy club and was treasurer. The club has been a big part of our lives, and it’s only nine home games a year; it’s not very much really.”
There would not be a junior player in the club Maureen and Cheryl have not served, and among them is Western Bulldogs captain Ryan Griffen, whose two brothers Travis and Trent still play for Goolwa-Port Elliot.
“Ryan was always a good, quiet lad,” Maureen said. “He’d get into the red frogs like no other, and he’d always say please and thank you.
“I remember the days when we used to serve a cup of tea, a sandwich and a piece of cake at half-time, and it was a huge thing 30 years or so ago when we started selling hot dogs.
“There will be a gap in our life; no doubt. I will miss it; especially the people. There are times everyone comes in here and helps because we do get support from all the clubs (Goolwa lawn bowls, football, cricket, tennis and croquet), which we have always appreciated.”
The oval was in March renamed the Brian Dugmore Recreation Ground in honour of the amazing service to the sporting clubs by Maureen’s husband, Brian, who this time was the one in awe of her commitment to local sport. “I am very proud of her and Cheryl,” Brian said. “It has been a big effort over a long journey.”
Cheryl hopes that others will take their place working in the canteen because it represented a much-needed source of revenue for the Goolwa sporting clubs.
We can reveal that for 24 years Maureen and Cheryl have been Crows supporters in a Magpies’ nest, but not so surprising were the few quiet tears on the Saturday when they served together in the canteen fir the last time.
The club presented Maureen and Cheryl with flowers and champagne, not to mention the cutting of a huge sponge cake, at half-time. “It was a nice thing to do,” Maureen said. “We never expected anything because we have just loved being at this club.”