Overall Winner – 2014 Volunteer of the Year NSW Northern Rivers

Susan Biggar of Ocean Shores Brunswick Valley and District Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Susan’s role in the Rescue Squad is one of captaincy, leadership, administration, training, and as a state-rescue-board-accredited operator. She has brought her dedication and commitment to the rescue squad for the past 20 years. Susan is highly respected by the organisation due to her high level of expert knowledge which is backed up by years of experience in volunteering for rescue organisations. Her guidance as a training officer has improved the education and governance for new and current volunteer rescue personnel. She is an integral part of the squad as Squad Captain, and she is behind the scenes providing vital liaison with other services. Whatever Susan does, it is to help accomplish community goals rather than for any recognition of her actions.


2014 Student Volunteer of the Year

Winner: Ruby Sherrin of Grafton Northside Netball Association, RRISK, Young Women’s Leadership program and more

Ruby Sherrin
Ruby Sherrin

Ruby is a passionate, dedicated and hard-working volunteer. She is highly committed to her volunteering and community work, devoting time to many different charities and organisations. Ruby has volunteered as a netball coach for five years with most of her coaching at Northside Netball Club where she mentors young teams and supports their skills development to help the competition prosper. Ruby is also a Volunteer for the Young Women’s Leadership Program and a RRISK team leader (RRISK helps addresses risk-taking behaviour among year 11 students on the NSW North Coast). Ruby has also been a zone and regional finalist in the Lions Youth Volunteer of the Year awards, is a regular blood donor and volunteers to be involved in many more community groups and programs.


2014 Youth Volunteer of the Year

Winner: Ruby Sherrin of Grafton Northside Netball Association, RRISK, Young Women’s Leadership program and more

Please see previous for description.


2014 Adult Volunteer of the Year

Winner: Susan Biggar of Ocean Shores Brunswick Valley and District Volunteer Rescue Squad

Please see Overall Winner for description.


2014 Senior Volunteer of the Year

Winner: David Abrahams of Grafton Grafton U3A Inc Men’s Shed.

David has been a tireless and dedicated volunteer in Grafton since 1947 when he was 17. He is a hardworking yet humble man who has given an enormous amount of time, skill and dedication to his town and community. He was a very involved business man yet found time to volunteer – chairing the fundraising for the local children’s home which raised $50,000 and the Grafton Nursing home which raised $200,000 in the 1970s and 1980s. He has taken on leadership roles at every organisation he has been involved in  the Jockey Club, Chamber of Commerce, Grafton Pony Club, Yamba Surf Club, the Clarence Master Swimming Club and the Computer Club. He was instrumental in establishing the Grafton U3A Men’s Shed, where he volunteers at the Men’s Shed as a Volunteer Coordinator. David focuses on the camaraderie, fellowship, and the practical work to help men coping with loneliness, grief, depression and boredom. His work enhances the mental health and quality of life of the men who attend Men’s Shed, as well as their families, partners, and the wider community.


2014 Volunteer Team of the Year

Winner: New School of Arts Neighbourhood House Inc. – Community Visitors Scheme team, South Grafton Represented by Simone McPherson on behalf of 49 volunteers.

The New School of Arts Neighbourhood House Inc. – Community Visitors Scheme is a group of volunteers who visit isolated, aged care residents either one-on-one, or in small groups. Each community visitor is enriching the quality of life of the resident who, in many cases, does not have family close by. The program has just celebrated 20 years of volunteering. Over the past 12 months, community visitors have made a total of 2,386 visits. The volunteers are there for each of their residents through the ageing process. Each friendship created is unique and the community visitors’ team members continue to visit with their friend until they pass away. The community visitor shares conversations, ideas, jokes and activities with their resident friend while gaining a wonderful new friendship in return.


Honour Roll of Nominees

2014 Adult Volunteer of the Year

  • Helen Boddington of Pottsville who volunteers with Tweed Parkinson’s Support Group.
  • Suzanne Hudson of Tweed Heads South who volunteers with Blind Citizens Australia.
  • Margaret Newman of Rous Mill who volunteers with Ballina and District Riding for the Disabled.

2014 Senior Volunteer of the Year

  • Alison Cheetham of Maclean who volunteers with Meals on Wheels.
  • Max Lipshus of Banora Point who volunteers with Sailability on Tweed.
  • Jim Mahoney of Lismore who volunteers with Leukaemia Foundation.
  • Doug Stinson of Byron Bay Northern Rivers who volunteers with Cancer Council NSW.

2014 Volunteer Team of the Year

  • Narelle Walker and the 8 current members and another 5 past members volunteers who make up the Alstonville Community Preschool Inc. team.
  • Susan Gilbert and the two volunteers who make up the Seniors Kiosk Computer Tutors team.