We were hundreds of miles apart, but we all felt much closer after our virtual Mid North Coast regional ceremony for the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards. Thank you to all the nominees and congratulations to our award winners.

The Butterflies for Mental Health Month project is the brain child of the talented Ashley Whittingham – perhaps one of the youngest creative directors yet! It’s a Lifeline Mid North Coast project to help fight mental illness.

Marlee RFS volunteer and general community stalwart Ken Cameron has almost run out of local organisations to support, while the Kendall Riding of the Disabled President and coordinator of everything Elizabeth Wallace has been a driving force behind this valuable community service for more than a decade.

And hats off to the 45 volunteer team members of Tour de Taree from Club Taree, who ride a collective 10,000 kilometres each year to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW. Good luck in this year’s peloton which kicks off next week.

The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Mid North Coast Region is Riding for the Disabled volunteer and Club President Elizabeth Wallace.

2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Mid North Coast are:

Young Volunteer of the Year – Ashley Whittingham from Port Macquarie

Ashley is the creator of the Butterflies for Mental Health Month project which allows members of the public to create origami butterflies to be displayed at community locations throughout the Port Macquarie region. The project is supported by Lifeline Mid North Coast and encourages people to talk about mental health. Ashley also supports Lifeline Mid North Coast at events for people who have lost family members or friends to suicide.

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Ken Cameron from Marlee

Ken has been volunteering with the Marlee Rural Fire Service for the past 40 years. Ken’s great uncle helped establish Marlee Hall almost 100 year ago and he been a driving force behind the Marlee Hall Progress Association for many years. He has also volunteered with Wingham High School P&C, Marlee Landscape group and Marlee Tennis Club.     

Adult Volunteer of the Year for Mid North Coast: Ken Cameron

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Elizabeth Wallace from Lakewood

Elizabeth has held multiple roles with the Kendall Riding for the Disabled group for the past 14 years. She is now the club president as well as the riders’ coordinator and is spending countless hours working to find the club a permanent new home.

Volunteer Team of the Year – le Tour de Taree Volunteers from Club Taree

The 45 members of the Le Tour de Taree team are relentless fundraisers for Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW after learning that about a dozen local families were accessing its services each week. The volunteer members ride a collective 10,000 km each year, raising more than $40,000 in the process. This year the group was forced to delay its ride due to COVID restrictions, however it is now scheduled to kick off next week – to coincide with its famous French namesake. 

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering which has grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country.

Regional finalists for the awards are announced at 25 ceremonies throughout NSW and are invited to the Gala State Ceremony for the announcement of the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year.

The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.