13 Jun 2015
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For many years Mary McCutcheon-Walker was the Committee Chair of the A-Z Book Fair voluntary group which ran Variety – The Children’s Charity’s annual Monster Book Fair.

2015 was Mary's very last year volunteering for the Book Fair, which has recently been moved to an online format.

For eleven years Mary worked tirelessly behind the scenes to coordinate book collection and sorting, no small task given that more than 100,000 books were donated each year! Since 2004, the Monster Book Fair raised more than $900,000 to benefit disadvantaged Kiwi kids. 

Mary spent five to six hours a day, two to three days a week at a warehouse in Mangere, sorting the donated books for the Fair. She led a team of around 24 dedicated volunteers who became firm friends who shared a love of books. They also loved a great cup of tea and were treated to Mary’s famous date scones from time to time.

The Variety Monster Book Fair would not have existed without Mary’s commitment, passion, energy and expertise. She was the back bone of the event, demonstrating considerable knowledge, endless energy and an unfailing sense of humour. 

Mary gained much satisfaction from the volunteer work she did for Variety:

“I liked that the money that we raised was spent in New Zealand on Kiwi kids. Over the years I’ve been to many Variety events where I’ve met the children that Variety helps and I’ve heard them share their stories. I remember one very talented little boy who was a star soccer player and another girl who Variety was helping to achieve her goals in swimming. I’ll always remember the words of one young man who received a Variety Gold Heart Scholarship to help him reach his dreams: ‘Variety – I’ll make you proud of me’. Variety makes such a difference to these children and this is the sort of thing that keeps me going. I wish I was 20 years younger so I could spend more time helping Variety!”

Mary McCutcheon-Walker has been a pleasure to deal with and an inspiration to be around. She is a passionate about brightening the futures of Kiwi kids in need. Her constant commitment to the Variety has made a significant difference to the lives of New Zealand children. 

Thank you Mary!