Celebrating Lilian - The most senior volunteer with Encircle


Lilian McDougall is amazing - she has supported her community daily since 1997.

For Lillian volunteering provided a means to push forward in life when she was at her lowest. “After I lost my husband, I thought I could do one of two things; sit back and do nothing, or go and do something worthwhile. I chose to volunteer.”

At 85 years of age, Lillian is the most senior volunteer at Encircle and organises their newsletter, monthly speakers, bus trips as well as collating memberships and many odd jobs.

Encircle is a not-for-profit community owned and operated organisation for individuals and families in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. Currently, there are more than 200 volunteers, like Lillian, across their three sites in Lawnton, Redcliffe and Strathpine. They deliver services in community development, adult literacy, conversational English groups, a multicultural ladies group, community centre management, legal services, community gardening, housing and homelessness, financial counselling and much more.

Lillian said the thing she loves most about Encircle is the people and the comradery. “As with the name Encircle, we all join up and work together.”

Prior to volunteering at Encircle, Lilian had been a volunteer at the local community theatre since 1982 where she had held all positions they had available - president, secretary, treasurer, stage manager, acting, directing, voiceover, lighting and sound. Lilian is organising a concert at the Mouse Trap theatre where she used to volunteer as a part of National Seniors Week.

Lillian has one thing to say to encourage those thinking about volunteering: “You don’t know what you’re missing, come and join us! It’s not what you get, but what you can give to the world!”