Wendy Dalton, NSW Volunteer of the Year (Left), with Karin Brown and Gemma Rygate at Northern Rivers Regional Ceremony.

Esteemed local aboriginal leader Wendy Dalton has been named the 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year for her tireless support of young indigenous people and advocacy and care for aboriginal women fighting breast cancer.

The announcement was made today in front of more than 300 community, business and political leaders and marks the end of a state-wide six month search spanning 112,000 individual nominations across 20 separate regional and suburban award ceremonies.

The Awards are an annual event run by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding work of volunteers in every region across NSW.

The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said the awards had helped uncover so many incredible stories of community achievement and goodwill across every corner of the state.

“We hold these awards to highlight the contribution of all our volunteers,” Ms Rygate said.

“It gives us the opportunity to hear their stories, be inspired by their actions and pass on our thanks.

“It’s been my privilege to meet all of our award finalists over the past six months and I congratulate them all for their efforts. Their contribution is immense.

“I save a special thank you to Wendy Dalton for her brave and relentless support of her local community on the NSW North Coast and Far western NSW.  She gives so much to all people, no matter what it takes.”

The Awards are in their 12th year and have grown to become one of the biggest events recognising volunteering across the country.

Regional award ceremonies are held across NSW in August and September where nominees are recognised and finalists selected to represent the region in the 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.

The 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients announced today are:

  • Adult Volunteer of the Year and overall Volunteer of the Year: Wendy Dalton from Grafton
  • Young Volunteer of the Year: Aimee Caulfield from Tamworth
  • Senior Volunteer of the Year: George Tillett from Glenhaven
  • Volunteer Team of the Year: Wellington Beyond Barbed Wire Volunteer Mentors
  • Corporate Volunteer of the Year: Gemma Marshall from the Macquarie Group
  • Corporate Volunteer Team of the Year: Pfizer Cares – Pfizer Australia
  • Excellence in Volunteer Management: Colin Lott, St John Ambulance NSW from Wyong


“At just 21 years of age, our Young Volunteer of the Year Aimee Caulfield has already helped and inspired so many of her peers,” Ms Rygate said.

“Our Senior Volunteer of the Year George Tillett continues to apply the skills attained over a life time to build and create new tools and equipment that help make a huge difference to the lives of people living with a disability.”

The 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs. They are also supported by Mint Awards and Thrifty Car & Truck Rentals.

NSW Minister responsible for Volunteering, the Hon. Ray Williams MP, said the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are an important way to recognise the contribution of the 2.1 million volunteers working throughout NSW.

“It was an honour to meet and talk with so many esteemed volunteers today who work so hard for their local communities,” Mr Williams said.

“I congratulate all our award finalists and those volunteers selected to receive the Volunteer of the Year Awards. You all make a special contribution to your local communities, right across NSW. We can all learn from hearing your stories and celebrating your efforts.” 

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said that volunteers were the backbone of registered clubs across NSW. “On behalf of an industry which relies upon 32,000 volunteers, I congratulate all of these deserving winners,” said Mr Ball.

“These awards recognise the huge contribution that volunteers make in their local communities, and ClubsNSW is proud to be a principal partner. Clubs across NSW rely on volunteers to help make their venues a great place to socialise, which in turn adds billions of dollars to the NSW economy every year.”

Photos of the event are kindly supplied by  Michael Mannington Volunteer Photography, and are available to view here.

Further photos taken by