Bill Wilkins Volunteer Award: Shine a light on a community volunteer

Faye Lawn - Bill Wilkins award winner

Residents like Fay Lawn (pictured above) embody the spirit of volunteerism.

The long-serving volunteer last year became the first person to receive the Bill Wilkins Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of 49 years of volunteering in Maroondah.

Named in honour of Freeman of the City Bill Wilkins, the award is presented annually to recognise those volunteers who inspire and embrace the spirit of volunteerism through their exemplary contribution to the community.

Nominations are now open for the Bill Wilkins Volunteer of the Year Award for 2020.

Every Friday, Mrs Lawn visits residents of Regis Amaroo, a residential aged care home in Ringwood, where she delights in entertaining residents on the piano playing their favourite “Golden Oldies”.

This year also marks 50 years that she has been delivering Meals on Wheels to Maroondah residents, something she continues to enjoy doing alongside her husband.

As most volunteers like Mrs Lawn will tell you, they get more out of volunteering than they give.

“It’s better to give than to receive. Everyone does what they can in the time they’ve got,” she says.

She describes receiving the inaugural Bill Wilkins Volunteer of the Year Award as “a real thrill”.

Mrs Lawn will be recognised for 50 years of volunteer service at Council’s Volunteer Recognition Function later this year.

Council created the distinguished service award in 2018, named in honour of Bill Wilkins in recognition of more than 75 years of volunteering in Maroondah. In 1994, Mr Wilkins became an Honorary Freeman of the City – the highest honour a council can bestow upon an individual.

Maroondah Mayor Cr Mike Symon said like its namesake, the Bill Wilkins Volunteer of the Year Award similarly recognises others who go above and beyond in their commitment to helping others in the community.

Cr Symon said the impact of Mrs Lawn’s kindness and care had been felt by people of all stages, ages and capabilities.

“Mrs Lawn is an exemplary member of the Maroondah community who has volunteered in many different areas – Meals on Wheels, Maroondah Hospital, and as a spiritual care volunteer supporting people through rehabilitation – to provide support and care for lonely and vulnerable members of our community,” he said.

“Through her volunteering, Ms Lawn has reduced isolation, improved the health and wellbeing of people, has taught, mentored, inspired and given large amounts of her own free time for no other reason than to help and be there for others,” Cr Symon added.

Mrs Lawn said she was proud to have been chosen as the first person to receive the honour.

“There are so many volunteer jobs in the community that I’ve been privileged to do, and it’s been a wonderful experience in my life. And I hope that I have in some way contributed to people of Maroondah,” she said upon receiving the award.

Cr Symon said now was the opportunity to shine a light on another deserving community volunteer.

The Bill Wilkins Volunteer of the Year Award will be presented at this year’s Volunteer Recognition Function, to be held on Thursday 3 December.

Nominations will be accepted until the closing date on Sunday 23 August 2020.

All nominees must volunteer in the Maroondah community. Self-nominations will not be accepted.

Nominations can be made online

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