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The last hand . . . Every Monday afternoon for the past six years, Mollie Murcott has welcomed people into her Perth St home for a game of cards, to raise money for the Cancer Society. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

Little by little, a little becomes a lot.

Every Monday afternoon for the past six years, Mollie Murcott has welcomed people into her Perth St home for a cup of tea and a game of cards, collecting $2 from each player as a donation to the Cancer Society.

This week, Mrs Murcott (88) dealt the last hand and made the group’s final donation to the Cancer Society’s North Otago branch. Over the years, she and her team of card players have raised more than $3770 for the organisation.

Mrs Murcott lost her husband Harry Murcott and daughter Marie Thorp to cancer, so it was a cause close to her heart – and it was “amazing” how the $2 donations had added up over the years, she said.

Mrs Murcott started playing cards at the Columba Church hall in Oamaru after she was diagnosed with macular degeneration.

She had heard there was someone else with vision loss playing cards there, and wanted to test herself.

When the group was no longer able to use the hall, she invited everyone to her home – and about eight players had regularly joined her to play 500 every Monday, ever since.

In recent years, Joan Vinags had taken over the Cancer Society collection, ensuring everyone paid their $2 and keeping a record of the donations.

“We’ve had a lovely time. It’s been a happy time,” Mrs Murcott said.

“They come in the door smiling … and then they all go out the door laughing about things that might’ve happened.”

There were so many things people could not do when they lost their eyesight, she said.

Bridge and golf were two of her favourite pastimes she had been forced to give up, so being able to play cards brought her a lot of joy.

She used a pack of playing cards with larger numbers and different colours, which helped her recognise the numbers and suits more easily.

“I’m so glad to have something I could do.”

On Monday, eight players enjoyed a coffee cake from Peter Pan Bakery, as they reflected on the past six years of card games and celebrated Olga Orr’s 97th birthday.

Mrs Murcott said she would miss playing cards every Monday afternoon, but the time was right to wrap things up.

North Otago Cancer Society volunteer Rayna Hamilton said Mrs Murcott was an “absolute inspiration”, and had become a very dear friend.

“Mollie has such wonderful energy … a beautiful twinkle in her eye and a very kind heart,” Mrs Hamilton said.

At Mrs Murcott’s request, the card players’ donations had gone towards vouchers for cancer patients in North Otago.

The vouchers accompanied baking and soup, made by Cancer Society volunteers.