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Lismore Seniors awarded for over 1000 years of service

The Lismore App

Lara Leahy

30 March 2024, 7:02 PM

Lismore Seniors awarded for over 1000 years of service

Some of Lismore’s most influential people gathered on Thursday (March 28) to have their wisdom and deeds acknowledged. It was part of a celebration for the Lismore Seniors Festival, which ran from March 11 to 22nd.



As part of the celebrations, nominations for community achievements were held to recognise those who have made, and continue to make, an impact in and around Lismore. You could enter or be nominated - some award recipients were not aware they were nominated until they won.


The categories included Business, Environment, Science, Agriculture, Health and Wellbeing, Lifelong Learning and Community Service, although some people straddled more than one category.



Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin began the proceedings by thanking all the attendees.


“I congratulate today’s recipients who have made our region a diverse, active and inspirational place to live.”


Janelle reflected, “Can you imagine collectively, the number of years of service of this group here,” Janelle posed the question. Jeff Thompson, one of the award recipients pointed out, “When you start adding it up it’s probably well over 1000 years of service by the people in the room altogether.”



The award receivers included:

Colin Smith, who attended from Murwillumbah with his wife, Janette. 


Colin had been given his award for his time in service to the community which included 15 years in the Army Reserve, a year with the SES, 3 years as a Petty Officer Instructor for the Army Cadets, 9 years in Marine Rescue and 18 years of service in the RFS. He currently serves with 3 Rural Fire Brigades, Cudgen as a firefighter, Murwillimbah in the support crew and he uses his expertise as an Aviator Coordinator to assist as the Air Base Operator for the Northern Rivers Support Brigade. 


“I help with loading planes with retardant for fighting fires,” Colin clarifies. 



Janette weighs in to include his extra personal “services” rearing 8 children and 15 grandchildren.


“I like doing what I’m doing. It's good when you can do something you enjoy for the community,” Colin said.



Shirley Beaver for lifelong learning as a teacher with U3A (University of the 3rd Age).


“I started teaching primary school for many years,” Shirley said, “I’ve been teaching with U3A (creative writing) for I think 27 years. I am a bit ancient now,” she said to general laughter around the room. She also joked about the difference between teaching primary children and retirees, “The retirees answer back!”


(Shirley discussing philosophy followed by her toilet-trained cat with Janelle Saffin)


Audrey Mallaby is a patron of the CWA and her contribution in many areas was acknowledged. She had family members from four generations to see her receive her award.


“It means a lot to me for the family's sake. It gives them something to be proud of and sets an example for them,” said Audrey, following with some wisdom, ”There is only one way to beat death. Live!!!”


(Front: Janelle Saffin, Audrey Mallaby, Linda Mallaby. Back: Koen Young, Ivy Young, Tumahn Young, John Mallaby)


Jeff Thompson’s contribution of 59 years in agriculture with a special interest in poultry and livestock - breeding, showing and now judging won him his award. 


It meant a lot to him as he explained he had, “spent 42 years (working in one area) and never got recognised.” His work continues, and he is a judge at the RNA Ekka in Brisbane this year.



Rob Learmonth was nominated as a representative for the Murwillumbah Sporting Car Club for community service and lifelong learning.


“A few years ago, a bunch of us petrolheads got together,” Rob started his acceptance with laughter. “We established, as a team effort, a young driver program. It takes senior secondary school students (13 to 18) to become familiar with a car, and get familiar with things like defensive driving.”



It started with 5 people, but now there are 72 people involved with the Young Driver Program. There are about 56 young men, women and accident victims learning at the moment. 


“This award is the culmination of a team effort between local and state government, local communities and around 10 start-ups. It’s ours,” Rob acknowledged the success of the program was the work of all the contributors since the beginning.



Elaine Baldwin and Margaret Condon were in attendance to receive the nomination for the Lions Club’s community award. 


Elaine spoke of the $650,000 that they distributed to assist people post-flood with household products. 



Margaret spoke about the Lismore Lions Club being the founding club - where the Lions all started, and how proud they have been “In the year they turned 75 (the year of the floods), they were able to bring such service to the community.”


Margaret was pleased with the award as “it is recognition of what we are about. Our motto is “We Serve”. All we have to do is to put the word out there, and our volunteers respond. They are very dedicated.”



The Lismore Croquet Club won an award for Health and Wellbeing. 


The club had a lovely double surprise when Linda Perry-Pollard (marketing) entered them secretly, and then won an award.


Linda and Fay Ross (Club Captain) attended and Linda spoke of the impact on socials for the club over the time of the awards, which went from 12,000 hits to 34,000 hits. Fay spoke about how proud she was of the club's 90-plus years of history and their plan to be around for another 90.



Ros Irwin was awarded for Environment and Community Service. She spoke about her time at Lismore Council, with the koalas and other environmental organisations.


On reflection about being awarded, Ros said, “It was an absolute surprise and really amazing the thought that the work I have been doing is important enough.”


(Janine Wilson (left) and Ros Irwin (right)


Janine Wilson was nominated for her work in the community.


Janine gave thanks and was humbled by the award, attributing it ”To the community, as I have tried to give the community a voice in dealing with local government.”


She went on to discuss how her work was to help people to understand events with the aim of promoting democracy. 


All recipients were given an award certificate, flowers and chocolates. 


Ms Saffin wrapped up the formal part of the gathering and congratulated all participants, speaking about the importance of older voices. “This is my way of saying thank you.”

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