WOMAN PIONEER: Mavis Cooper is the woman behind Speld Warwick, a group that provides the region access to literacy help.
WOMAN PIONEER: Mavis Cooper is the woman behind Speld Warwick, a group that provides the region access to literacy help. Jiordan Tolli

Mighty helpful Mavis is a pioneer of 50-year-old group

WHEN Mavis Cooper put a notice in Warwick Daily News in the 1970s, she wasn't expecting 30 people to show up at her front door.

She never imagined she would end up being the region's pioneer of Speld, a group that provides access and help to people with learning difficulties.

Decades on, Speld Warwick has held a 50-year celebration at Warwick Town Hall, all thanks to the woman who was inspired to help.

When Mrs Cooper first moved to the Southern Downs with her husband David in 1972, she found it difficult to find help for her son, who was having a trouble at school.

She put a letter in the newspaper letting Southern Downs residents know that she was opening her home to have a meeting for parents whose children were experiencing learning difficulties.

"I was expecting eight to turn up and 30 walked through the door,” Mrs Cooper said.

"I didn't have enough cups.”

After the meeting, a committee of eight was formed which worked together and grew over the years to form Speld Warwick.

The group ran workshops for high school students, fundraised and provided access to literacy help in the Southern Downs.

"When I first came to the town I got so much co-operation,” Mrs Cooper said.

"I think it's because my last name was Cooper, they assumed that I came from the Cooper run up here.

"I didn't tell anyone the truth unless they asked.

"I took every advantage I could.”

Mrs Cooper has received Australian renowned awards in literacy and been a councillor and deputy mayor of Warwick council.

She has been the national secretary and treasurer for Speld Brisbane, gone overseas to complete adult literacy workshops and drastically increased assistance for people with learning difficulties in the region.

More than five decades after pioneering Speld Warwick, she was chuffed to say it's still going strong and making a difference 50 years on.

"I'm thrilled to dribbles and very proud,” Mrs Cooper said.