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Coin collectors turn pennies to possibilities

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Terry and Beverley Fitzpatrick display some of the coins they’ve collected and which are headed for – in this case – Jesuit Mission. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Terry and Beverley Fitzpatrick display some of the coins they’ve collected and which are headed for – in this case – Jesuit Mission. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Terry Fitzpatrick has taken the adage “Charity starts at home” literally to heart, raising more than $100,000 over 13 years for Catholic missions and charities by faithfully collecting old stamps and small change every Sunday at Mass.

The St Patrick’s Lithgow parishioner and St Vincent de Paul Society member is a big believer that every good deed, no matter how small, makes a difference.

As previously reported in The Catholic Weekly Terry and his wife Beverley set up the St Patrick’s Coin Club at their parish in 2010 to invite donations of used postage stamps (to be bundled and sold to collectors), small change, old coins and rosary beads for Catholic missions.

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Terry was inspired by the example of a friend who had experienced many of life’s hard knocks but made use of every bit of help that came his way.

“People are willing to give a little to a good cause and it all adds up,” Terry said.

The couple, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next May, publish an ongoing tally in their parish bulletin each week and a thank you for people’s ongoing generosity.

They have sent funds to recent important building or rebuilding efforts including new monasteries at Kurmond for the Tyburn nuns and Mathoura for the Discalced Carmelite nuns, and to the NSW Bishops’ 2022 flood relief appeal.

They also continue to support Caritas Australia, Right to Life, the Catholic Enquiry Centre, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Jesuit Mission and Divine Word Missionaries, and the Perthville Josephite Sisters along with others.

Parish priest Fr Garry McKeown said Terry and Beverley had given much of their time and talents to Lithgow’s Catholic and wider community over the years, and led an extraordinary “ministry for missions.”

“They do a great job with the support of the parish and have also been a wonderful support to the work of St Vincent de Paul,” he said.

“They’re a great couple and a great example to us all and I love them for it.”

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