In 2014 fourteen awards were presented honouring the extraordinary contribution of inspirational older Victorians during an award ceremony at Government House.
Read on for biographies of each of the award winners.
Premier’s Award for Victorian Senior of the Year
Ted Goodacre from Lismore
Ted was nominated by a range of Lismore and district community organisations. Ted volunteers across a wide range of activities including: fundraising and project initiatives for the Lions Club; the State Emergency Service; the Lismore bowling, football and swimming clubs; the Western Plains Pre-school; the Lismore Primary School; the Lismore Cemetery Trust and the Bradvale Campdraft.
Ted is a long serving member of the Lismore and District Lions Club and has received their highest accolade for community work, in particular for the annual Lions Youth Exchange camps. He also coordinates the Lions Club Roadside Reviver coffee stop.
Ted is an esteemed member of the community where he has lived for many decades and is affectionately known as a Lismore stalwart.
His generosity and eagerness to strengthen the life of his community is witnessed regularly by those who live in the Lismore region.
People say that Ted inspires others with his infectious personality, humour and his uncanny ability to break down social barriers, assisting many to exceed their own expectations.
Veterans Community Award
Geoff Casey from Drysdale
Geoff was nominated by Barwon Health where he has been a volunteer since 2009. He also volunteers with the Vietnam Veterans Association, the Vietnam Veterans Federation and other veterans support organisations in the Barwon South West region.
Geoff is a Vietnam veteran with his own health challenges but these haven’t stopped him acting as a powerful ally for other veterans needing support.
Geoff regularly attends the Geelong Hospital to visit veteran patients, providing comfort and a trusted listening ear. He also visits the elderly widows of WWII veterans. Geoff is a great strength to them and helps them remember their late husbands’ loyalty and service.
Those who nominated Geoff describe him as a man who has dedicated his life to helping others and that in retirement he continues to do so, not letting his ‘senior years’ slow him down, but making every day count.
Promotion of Multiculturalism Award
Wu Kiu Ying from Kew
Wu Kiu was nominated by 2010 Young Victorian of the Year Wesa Chau.
Wu Kiu has founded and provided volunteer service to a diverse range of healthy living and social clubs and cultural organisations supporting older Australians of Chinese heritage.
She was a founding member of the Kew Home for Chinese committee and also played a key role in the Australia Chinese community’s fund raising response to the 2011 floods in eastern Australia.
Wu Kiu is very well known within her community, fondly known as Ying Ah Yee – meaning Auntie Ying, a mark of respect within the Chinese community.
She can be found volunteering at a different group each day of the week – she is a practical, hands-on type of person and plays a significant role as a volunteer administrator and fundraiser.
Wu Kiu is regarded as a shining example of an older person maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle through volunteering, and someone who inspires younger people to follow her example of community participation.
Healthy and Active Living Award
Geoffrey Stokes from Kooweerup
Geoff was nominated by Kooweerup Regional Health Service which relies on dedicated volunteers like Geoff to deliver extra and important programs to patients, residents and the broader community.
Geoff, with an engineering background, took on the development of the local Men’s Shed and is the flag bearer and tutor for the uptake of new communication technologies by older people. He is also a great community organiser for local events, including his RSL sub-branch work to ensure that ANZAC and Remembrance Day ceremonies proceed without a hitch.
Geoff is described as approachable, practical, supportive and humorous – all key qualities for the mentor role he plays. People who know Geoff also say he is a positive and inspiring role model for all in the Kooweerup community.
Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria Senior Achiever Awards
Irene Andrianakis from Albert Park
Irene was nominated by her daughter for her volunteer activities to support older Australians of Greek heritage.
Irene has a busy volunteer schedule that includes collecting donations for the local Community Chest and organising activities for members of the South Melbourne Senior Citizens Club, where she is the President. She also plays an important role in encouraging older Greek Australians who have become isolated in their homes to find ways to re-connect and get involved
Irene is described as a dedicated and compassionate person who makes a very practical difference to the lives of many older people. She shows everyone how positive it is to be proactive and her willingness and enthusiasm provides an inspirational role model for younger generations.
Anne Atkin from Hallam
Anne was nominated by Parkinson’s Victoria, where she is a volunteer, ambassador and the creator and program leader of thePainting with Parkinson’s Victoria program.
Since her diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease 10 years ago, Anne has actively supported and inspired people living with Parkinson’s and highlighted the issue to the broader community.
Anne established Painting with Parkinson’s, resulting in a number of groups across Victoria. The program teaches painting skills and also provides social support, relief for carers and exercises to help with coordination.
Anne has organised a number of exhibitions of participants’ work which have given a huge boost to people suffering an isolating and degenerative illness.
In recognition of her significant contribution to the Parkinson’s community, Anne was awarded Parkinson’s Victoria’s greatest honour - the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for outstanding voluntary service - in 2012.
She is a highly valued member of the City of Casey community and was the 2013 Casey Citizen of the Year.
Gwen Clark from Clayton South
Gwen has been a volunteer member of the Monash Medical Centre’s chaplaincy and pastoral care team in Clayton, for 21 years. Each week she visits, encourages, mentors and provides a listening ear for patients who sincerely value the friendship she provides.
As a skilled seamstress and knitter Gwen makes wonderful garments for the premature and other babies unit, and beyond the hospital, many a rescued penguin has enjoyed the comfort of special knitted jumper.
Gwen has volunteered in a number of roles at the Dixon House Neighbourhood Centre including coordinating and teaching craft group activities, cooking and serving the weekly community lunch, and mentoring women and their children from diverse backgrounds.
She also plays a very important role in regularly visiting those who are socially isolated, sick or infirm, offering company and friendship and providing transport for shopping and appointments.
Her nominators say Gwen is a person of integrity who always thinks of others first, and her cheerful personality never waivers.
Betty Knight from St Kilda
Betty was nominated by the City of Port Phillip Older Persons Consultative Committee, where she is an original member of the group.
One of her many achievements is her advocacy for Linking Neighbours, a community safety and social inclusion program with 1,200 members which identifies and supports people who are vulnerable or who have support needs.
Betty is the chair of the Port Phillip Seniors Festival committee which presents a diverse range of interesting local events each year.
She has also volunteered with Tourism Melbourne for 18 years, assisting visitors to explore and enjoy Melbourne and Victoria.
Her nominators describe Betty as an engaging and much admired person who makes a real difference to the wellbeing of her community.
Dr Santosh Kumar from Doncaster
Santosh was nominated by the Northern Federation of Ethnic Senior Citizens Clubs where he has had a long volunteer involvement with various organisations associated with the Australian Indian community.
In particular his nominators identify his volunteer work with the 200 strong Northern Region Indian Seniors Association (NRISA) has having a significant impact on his community.
Santosh is a tireless advocate for projects that address the housing and health support needs of older people who struggle to connect with health and welfare services.
He continues to write and publish in his lifelong field of operations research and science and inspires his peers to get involved and stay active in whatever interests them.
Jeanette Lane from Rosebud
Jeanette was nominated by the Peninsula Advisory Committee for Elders (PACE) where she is a founding member.
She has been associated with many successful programs for older people living on the Mornington Peninsula, including the council’s Positive Ageing strategy.
Her interests cover a broad spectrum of social issues, older peoples’ housing, resourcing volunteers, provision of information forums, indigenous matters and local community radio.
Jeanette played a key role introducing new activities to the Sorrento Activities Centre, appealing to all ages. Membership is now growing and the centre is becoming a vibrant and important part of the community.
Her nominators say that Jeanette personally demonstrates the qualities of being a healthy older person, and that she encourages her peers to adopt successful strategies for healthy older living.
Ivo McLaughlin from Hamilton
Ivo was nominated by the Dunkeld Museum for his voluntary work across the community which reflects his close connection to the area and its people.
Ivo has lived in Dunkeld all his life and has a long association with the Hamilton Uniting Church performing practical pastoral care as well as administrative duties.
Ivo is an active member of the Dunkeld Museum, who makes significant contributions to the community’s oral history record and as a welcoming host to visitors.
Ivo also makes a major impact locally by providing administrative expertise for the Hamilton Eisteddfod and the Dunkeld Consolidated School’s music program and Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden program.
Many other charitable and community organisations also benefit from funds raised by his donation of vegetable seedlings.
David Menadue from Balaclava
David was nominated by Living Positive Victoria and the Victorian AIDS Council in recognition of his 30 year commitment to promoting the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV and AIDS in Victoria.
In the year in which Melbourne hosted the International AIDS Conference it is fitting that David be awarded a COTA Senior Achiever Award.
His positive attitude to life and ageing inspires both his peers and younger members of the community. His nominators describe him most aptly as a champion.
David’s work to break down stigma and discrimination cannot be over stated – the impact this has had in improving treatment access, human rights and supported care services has been enormous.
His work has been a key factor in ensuring that the community response to HIV in Victoria is recognised as one of the best in the world.
Jenny Veevers from Southbank
Jenny was nominated by St Vincent’s Health – Corpus Christi Hospice where she has been a palliative care volunteer for 22 years.
Her nominators identify the very special nature of this work and say that Jenny is a true volunteer, one who represents the essence of human spirit and dignity.
Jenny knows that during the end of life, patients and families needn’t sacrifice the things that are most important to them. Her practical efforts ensure that during a difficult time, people are able to recognise that a life lived is to be celebrated.
Jenny is a senior trainer for new volunteers, and all staff and volunteers seek out her guidance and input.
Garry West from Ballarat
Garry is a veteran of commercial and community radio and was nominated by the Ballarat Vocal Arts Association.
Garry founded the Ballarat Vocal Arts Association, a continuation of his life-long commitment to amateur theatre and teaching the arts.
In his retirement, Garry has become a very important person in the cultural life of older people living in the Ballarat district.
He is known to the Victorian Seniors Festival through his crucial role in organising the Senior Star Quest. This major event attracts older people from all over Victoria to perform to a warm and receptive audience.
Garry continually appeals for sponsorship from local community and business groups to ensure that local cultural projects are funded and still finds time to take a ‘hands on’ approach at show-time.