‘Time for a well earned rest’: An institution in Canberra, Alan Jessup retires

Michael Weaver 23 March 2021 114
Alan Jessup collecting Salvation Army donations outside Canberra Centre.

Alan Jessup working his last day on the job at the Canberra Centre, on 23 March. Photo: Canberra City Salvos Facebook.

The end of an era has come for the Canberra City Salvation Army, which today (23 March) bid a fond farewell to its iconic collector Alan Jessup, who has retired at 90 years of age.

Mr Jessup first began taking collections for the Canberra City Corps of the Salvation Army outside what was then Monaro Mall 33 years ago, and he has been one of the most familiar sights for Canberra Centre shoppers.

Perched on his mobility walker, Mr Jessup has always been a man of few words, but there was always a grateful “thanks, mate” regardless of the size of the donation.

“I suppose you’ve got to be realistic when you’re nearly 91,” he told Canberra radio station Mix 106.3 FM. “It might be a good time to retire.”

However, Canberrans, have been more vocal with their appreciation for a man who literally became a part of the furniture at the Canberra Centre last year when the COVID-19 lockdown hit and a cardboard cutout of Mr Jessup was put in his place.

“He needs a statue in Civic somewhere – the man is a goddamn Canberra legend,” said one commenter on social media.

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“Congratulations, Alan, time now for a well earned rest – a Canberra icon that will never be forgotten,” said another. “Saturday mornings in the Canberra Centre won’t be the same without Alan sitting there in his Salvos uniform and his donation box. Over $4 million raised is a fantastic job, enjoy your retirement, Alan.”

In 2011, Mr Jessup was named as the ACT Local Hero in the Australian of the Year Awards.

He had moved to Canberra from Sydney to be closer to his family, and in recent years had to reduce the number of days with his wooden collection box due to declining health.

He has survived two heart attacks and has managed prostate cancer for more than a decade.

Mr Jessup has collected an estimated $4 million during his time with the Salvos, which has been passed on to people in the area facing hardship, isolation and domestic violence.


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114 Responses to ‘Time for a well earned rest’: An institution in Canberra, Alan Jessup retires
Toby Roberts Toby Roberts 11:07 pm 27 Mar 21

God bless him

Melissa Anne Melissa Anne 4:34 pm 27 Mar 21

Awww Maria Kendra- do you remember seeing him all the time in Civic ?

Margaret Spratt Margaret Spratt 7:08 pm 26 Mar 21

A Canberra icon who will be missed. God bless you and enjoy your retirement

Loren Kay Loren Kay 3:50 pm 26 Mar 21

Well deserved!

Emma Lyndon Emma Lyndon 1:36 pm 26 Mar 21

Thanks for your service Alan!

Ingrid Cucchi Ingrid Cucchi 6:40 am 26 Mar 21

Awesome service - I've ways admired your dedication - now for a rest.

Alison Hall Alison Hall 11:39 pm 25 Mar 21

I remember this lovely man from when I was a kid and first moved to Canberra ❤️

What an amazing fella 😇😊

Cheryl Yan Cheryl Yan 11:19 pm 25 Mar 21

Such an Institution. God Bless what a wonderful man 🙏

Jaimi-lee Hudson Jaimi-lee Hudson 9:52 pm 25 Mar 21

Awwww Kevin-jennie Casey olivia has given him some coins, what a legend 😢

    Kevin-jennie Casey Kevin-jennie Casey 5:43 am 26 Mar 21

    Jaimi-lee Hudson I’ve got shots of him

Michael Ilsley Michael Ilsley 9:17 pm 25 Mar 21

What a lovely, humble human being. Salt of the Earth.

Ida Raco Ida Raco 9:05 pm 25 Mar 21

Best wishes Alan, God bless! 🍀

Linda Keane Linda Keane 8:27 pm 25 Mar 21

He is wonderful! Xxx

Janelle Davidson Janelle Davidson 7:49 pm 25 Mar 21

Well done

Ilise Girvan Ilise Girvan 7:21 pm 25 Mar 21

An amazing man

Robyn Nicholson Robyn Nicholson 6:21 pm 25 Mar 21

Talked to him so often over the years. Such a dedicated and great person. Finally enjoy your retirement 🥰

Jodie Bishop Jodie Bishop 5:01 pm 25 Mar 21

Lovely man ❤️

Michelle Halliday Michelle Halliday 12:19 pm 25 Mar 21

Chloe Peps i remember u mentioning he was doing this since u were in school@

    Chloe Peps Chloe Peps 12:36 pm 25 Mar 21

    Michelle Halliday yeah since I can remember!

Dawn Gordon Dawn Gordon 11:22 am 25 Mar 21

Good luck on your retirement Sir. May yours days be restful and pleasant.

Terrie Robson Terrie Robson 8:09 am 25 Mar 21

Grace Robson end of an era..bless!

    Anna Frisina Anna Frisina 3:24 pm 25 Mar 21

    Terrie Robson he’s such a lovely guy. I’ve donated more than one on the same day just because he’s so sweet

    Terrie Robson Terrie Robson 3:31 pm 25 Mar 21

    Anna Frisina he’s amazing you feel compelled to chuck some change in when he is holding the bucket

Elizabeth Ladu Elizabeth Ladu 5:13 am 25 Mar 21

Well done..your the Man..wish you all the best in your Golden years.❤❤

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