A woman whose tireless work to improve the local community for all – people, plants and animals alike – is the City of Cockburn’s 2018 Inspirational Volunteer of the Year.
Christine Duckham, who has been volunteering for several community groups in Cockburn since her retirement 20 years ago, also took out the award’s Environmental & Animal Protection category.
She was one of 63 nominees across seven categories in this year’s awards which were announced on Sunday, 2 December at Spearwood Dalmatinac Club.
Christine is a volunteer with the Hamilton Hill Community Group and Hub, Friends of Dixon Park, Friends of Clontarf Hill and Cockburn Community Wildlife Corridor.
City of Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett described her as an environmentalist with a great appreciation for and interest in our shared impact on the natural world.
“Christine’s volunteering frequently sees her protecting threatened species, organising planting and clean-ups,” Mayor Howlett said.
“She has brought many people together and inspires more to follow in her footsteps, making her a shining example of ethical and active citizenship.
“At Hamilton Hill Community Hub, Christine helped instigate the move to new premises, ensuring the building obtained its change of use approval, and has successfully applied for grants to help facilitate workshops there.
“Numerous planting days and clean-ups on Clontarf Hill and its recent reclassification as an A-Class Reserve is due in part to her efforts.
“Her role in the Beeliar legal support team during the Roe 8 protests was pivotal and
contributed significantly to their non-violent nature at a difficult and emotional time.
“She is currently leading a team to GPS tag all remaining Tuart tree locations to protect them for future generations. Her considerable efforts have created a great community spirit in Hamilton Hill and surrounding suburbs.”
Winners of the other categories are:
Arts & Culture Category – Joy Parnell from the Historical Society of Cockburn
Joy has shown great leadership, engaging with many sectors of the community, crossing several cultures, age groups and genres in storytelling projects that aim to create a positive impact for our future generations.
Her research into local history acknowledges the diverse cultural history of Cockburn, something Joy has worked passionately to share with future generations.
Volunteer with Disability – Nigel Tinson from Cockburn Seniors Centre
Nigel has been a volunteer with his group for five years and has made a major contribution in various areas, in particular Technology and IT support for its members.
His skills in these areas have also led him to assist staff in general administrative duties.
Described as a “big guy with a big heart”, Nigel is a giving and supportive volunteer, who always finds time to help and if he doesn’t know the answer there and then, is sure to find out and get back to you!
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander – Natalie Mippy from Coogee Basketball Club
Natalie has been volunteering for the best part of 15 years with various clubs in Cockburn.
She has worn many hats during this time from president to treasurer and registrar, and works ceaselessly to increase active engagement of young people in the sporting field.
She supports coaches and officials and helps with fundraising, events and competitions, while working full time and raising two children.
Natalie is described as an inspiring role model with great leadership and professionalism, who is extremely valued as a volunteer at her club, where she has established and maintains a positive family culture.
Community – Alan Gowland from Cockburn Community Mens Shed
A local resident for the past decade, Alan co-founded the mens shed group in 2004.
He was dedicated to welcoming and introducing new members to the group until 2017 when illness forced his early retirement.
He gave hours of his own time willingly to prove this group was much needed in the community and helped set up and provide technical information for the shed’s construction, facilitating numerous group visits to help the establishment of similar concepts in other communities.
Sport & Recreation – Michael Penhaligon from the All Abilities Rugby team at Southern Lions Rugby Union Football Club
Michael has combined his volunteering with a life passion, putting his heart and soul into his club.
He established a ‘first of its kind’ sporting club in WA, working with people over 16 years of age who are able bodied with an intellectual challenge.
This has enabled people with disability the chance to play a sport they may not have had an opportunity to, and their families a valuable social outlet.
He is also the club’s administration volunteer, an honorary life member and general committee member.
Youth Category – Alexander Campbell from Beeliar Community Voice
Alexander has made a positive impact on the community and has a strong history of volunteering, since around the age of nine.
Utilising his enthusiasm, resilience and excellent communication skills, Alexander’s leadership qualities make him a great role-model for other youth, as he is always willing to help, be inclusive and share his knowledge.
He is usually the first to arrive and one of the last to leave – no task is too big, as Alexander shows a genuine desire to be involved in all aspects of the group.
Every nominee in this year’s awards received a certificate of appreciation, every category winner received a $250 gift voucher and the Inspirational Volunteer of the Year received a trophy and a second $250 gift voucher.