Twenty four years of support and smiles

Queensland resident Betty Mounser lends a helping hand and a comforting presence for those who need it most.

For some people, helping others is as much a part of their lives as breathing. For Betty Mounser, offering support to those who need it most has opened up a new chapter for her, one filled with laughter, friends and genuine connection.

After the loss of her husband, Bob, 26 years ago, Betty came across Solace, a not-for-profit community organisation that helps widowed people adjust to their new lives. With groups established in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Tasmania, Betty headed down to NSW to meet with the group there.

With no Solace groups operating in Queensland at the time, Betty decided to bring the initiative to the Sunshine State herself.

“At its core, Solace is an organisation run by widowed people, for widowed people. After I did some training and met with some people down in New South Wales, I came back and decided to hold my own meetings here,” says Betty.

In 1994, she held the first Solace meeting on the Gold Coast.

“We’ve got three branches now: Gold Coast, Garden City and Chermside. We meet at public libraries and community centres and are so proud to be celebrating our 25th birthday next year,” said Betty.

After almost a quarter of a century, Betty is still very much an integral part of Solace in Queensland, and at 86 years old, she maintains her role as State President.

“Next year is going to be a pretty big celebration. It makes me so proud to have been a part of something that helps people for so long and it’s still going strong,” she said.

With fortnightly meetings and monthly social luncheons, Betty’s goals for Solace are twofold.

“Firstly, we help people to grieve and we’re a shoulder to cry on. We also do our best to help people get back into the real world again—socialising and rebuilding their sense of independence,” she said.

“I’m available, in a sense, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I let everyone know that if they want help and want to talk to someone, they can ring my number at any time,” she said.

A resident of the Gardens of Lindfield for the past 14 years, Betty has been the guardian angel for so many over her years, offering endless support and a listening ear at all times of the day.