Friday, June 21, 2024

96-year-old WA volunteer’s half century of service

The state government has recognised 166 Western Australians for their long-standing commitment to volunteering at the WA Volunteer Service Awards.

Volunteering Minister Reece Whitby presented awards at a ceremony held at the Constitutional Centre today, as part of the 32nd annual National Volunteer Week.

The awards program, run by the Department of Communities, acknowledges the significant dedication and contributions of Western Australian volunteers who have given more than 25 years’ service to the community.

“Today’s 166 Volunteer Service Award recipients have each given between 25 years and 50 years plus of their own time to support and enhance a range of organisations and activities across Western Australia,” said WA Volunteering Minister Reece Whitby.

“In fact, their volunteering experience totals hundreds of years in areas including culture and the arts, social services, education, research, emergency services and sport and recreation.

“I congratulate the award recipients – and the thousands of other volunteers in Western Australia – for their incredible contributions.”

Six of this year’s WA Volunteer Service Awards recipients have volunteered for more than 50 years.

They include Ian Cameron of Swan View and Glad Hansen (pictured) of Lathlain who are volunteers at the WA Museum Boola Bardip.

Mr Cameron, 77, has cared for and maintained Australia’s oldest grapevines at the museum as an ‘unofficial’ volunteer for 52 years. He was a viticultural officer at the Department of Agriculture in the 1960s when he started pruning the vines.

The two grapevines – which were planted more than 150 years ago – thrived under his care and now produce up to 100 bunches of muscat table grapes per year.

Mr Cameron retired 12 years ago but the passion continues through his volunteering.

“The grapevines at the museum are probably as big and as healthy as any muscat grapevine anywhere in the world,” he said.

Mrs Hansen, 96, has assisted at the Aquatic Zoology Department for more than 56 years. Because of her attention, the mollusc (shell) collection is more accessible, better organised, and well laid out. 

She has developed expert knowledge and is widely recognised by the scientific community, with several species named after her.

Other recipients include:

  • – John Jonker who has volunteered with Manjimup Fire and Rescue since 1968 (50 years + category);
  • – Husband and wife William (Bill) and Meryian (Mim) Richardson who have worked with Vincent De Paul for 29 and 31 years respectively (25-49 years category); and
  • – Pat Bracknell and Melba Bembridge who both started with Albany Meals on Wheels in 1977 (40-49 years category).

“I also encourage other Western Australians to consider volunteering – it will make a difference to your life as well as those of others.”

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