Volunteers from Tamworth, Armidale and Moree were recognised for their outstanding contribution at the 10th Annual Volunteer of the Year Awards in Armidale today.

The top award went to Cameron McFarlane of Tamworth who received both the overall 2016 New England/ Northern Inland Volunteer of the Year Award and the Adult Volunteer of the Year Award for his work with Royal Life Saving Society’s Primary School CPR Awareness Campaign.

Chief Executive Officer of The Centre for Volunteering, Gemma Rygate, said volunteers improve people’s lives by helping out, keeping people connected and creating a sense of belonging in communities.

“This year The Centre for Volunteering received a record number of nominations: More than 7,500 nominations acknowledging more than 100,000 volunteers – a record number since the awards began 10 years ago,” Ms Rygate said.

“Volunteering is in the DNA of Australians: In NSW more than 2.3 million people volunteer – if volunteering were an industry it would employ more people than any other sector including mining and tourism,” Ms Rygate said.

Taking leave from his job as a pool manager Cameron became a one man CPR training unit travelling all over NSW teaching primary school children how to perform CPR, Ms Rygate said.

“Cameron knows first -hand the life saving benefits of CPR having performed it in emergencies many times,” Ms Rygate said. “Raising his own funds, Cameron personally instructed more than 5,000 students at 54 schools across NSW on his 6 week safety campaign.”

The Winners of the 2016 New England /Northern Inland NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are:

Award Category Winner
Overall Winner

Volunteer of the Year

Cameron McFarlane, Royal Life Saving Society

from Tamworth

Student Volunteer of the Year Curtis Hayne, Office of Environment and Heritage

from Moree

Youth Volunteer of the Year
(up to 24 years)
Joshua Barlin, Armidale Amateur Swimming Club

from Armidale

Adult Volunteer of the Year

(25 – 64 years)

Cameron McFarlane, Royal Life Saving Society

from Tamworth

Senior Volunteer of the Year

(65+ years)

Gaye Sheehan, Special Olympics Australia

from Armidale

Volunteer Team of the Year Ride for the Chopper 7 Day Charity MTB Ride , Westpac Rescue Helicopter Support Service

of Tamworth, Armidale etc

The Minister responsible for volunteering, John Ajaka, said the awards are an important way of recognising the vibrant contribution individual volunteers make towards strengthening communities across NSW.

“Our incredible volunteers make NSW the beautiful and rewarding place it is to live and work,” Mr Ajaka said.

“Central to volunteer satisfaction is meaningful recognition of the vital and diverse contribution of volunteers.”

Twenty regional Volunteer of the Year Award ceremonies are being held around the state.

All regional winners will be in the running for the overall NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards, which are announced at a gala event in Sydney on Friday December 2, in the lead up to International Volunteer Day.

The Volunteer of the Year Awards are generously supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, and ClubsNSW, the industry body which represents the states 1400 not-for-profit clubs, as well as Bupa Aged Care.

For images from the ceremony visit the photo gallery


The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding work of volunteers in every region across NSW. Twenty award ceremonies are held across NSW from August to October where nominees are recognised with certificates and winners announced.

Regional winners will be entered into the overall State 2016 Volunteer of the Year.