Volunteers from Lightning Ridge and Dubbo were recognised for their outstanding contribution at the 10th Annual Volunteer of the Year Awards in Dubbo today.

The top award went to Kathy Furney of Dubbo who received both the overall 2016 Orana Volunteer of the Year Award and the Senior Volunteer of the Year Award for her work with Western NSW Local Health District.

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 covering 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.

In her desire to promote health and happiness Kathy runs exercise classes, bicycle groups, table tennis sessions, aqua fitness groups and dance classes in pools, retirement homes and throughout the very streets of Dubbo and its surrounds, Ms Rygate said.

“Under her gentle guidance these diverse exercise sessions inevitably evolve into social events where the participants get stimulation from the camaraderie as much as they are flexing their muscles,” Ms Rygate said.

“Kathy also volunteers with the Dubbo and District Family History Society helping people connect with their family and community roots and she also represents the local bike riders on the Dubbo Council Traffic Committee.

“I guess you could say that Kathy gets more people moving safely in Dubbo than any other living soul.”

The Winners of the 2016 Orana NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are:

Award Category Winner
Overall Winner Kathy Furney, Western NSW Local Health District
Volunteer of the Year Winners Marianne Spooner, Frontier Services, Outback Links

Kathy Furney, Western NSW Local Health District

Felicity Rostron, Taronga Conservation Society

Stars of Dubbo 2016 Committee

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.


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

For more information about more about the 2016 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards visit our website