Vi Leather’s mighty com­mu­nity spirit

Thank­ing vol­un­teers for their tire­less work

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE | OVER 50 - Jack Lawrie jack.lawrie@cnbtimes.com.au

WHEN Vi Leather got on stage to ac­cept the Aus­tralia Day Cit­i­zen of the Year award at Monto com­mu­nity cen­tre, she de­liv­ered a pas­sion­ate ad­dress cel­e­brat­ing the vol­un­teers in town.

The 89-year old is some­thing of a leg­end in the com­mu­nity for her tire­less vol­un­teer work with Meals on Wheels, the high school tuck­shop and the Monto din­ners.

“I was over the moon; I lived in Monto for 72 years,” Vi said.

“I re­ally didn’t ex­pect it be­cause I thought there was a lot of other peo­ple who have done what I’ve done, but I sup­pose 36 years of meals on wheels is a long time.”

Vi was vol­un­teer­ing up un­til six months ago when she had a de­bil­i­tat­ing stroke.

“I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t walk and I couldn’t eat or any­thing,” Vi said.

“The doc­tor says it would be six months un­til I could walk again.”

Though she has dif­fi­culty walk­ing unas­sisted, six months on from the stroke her mind is still sharp.

“They put me out of the hospi­tal, I gave them an aw­ful time be­cause I didn’t know what I was do­ing,” Vi said.

“My brain was not my brain, it was some­one else’s.”

Dur­ing that time, she lived with her daugh­ter Ma­ree and her hus­band in PHOTOS: JACK LAWRIE Bund­aberg who looked af­ter her.

Even af­ter re­turn­ing to Monto, Ma­ree keeps in touch with Vi to check up.

She gets as­sis­tance from lo­cal vol­un­teers to drive her around and de­liver meals on wheels, like she used to do.

“There are a lot of peo­ple that go un­no­ticed, so that’s why I said the award is not just for me but for every­body,” Vi said.

There are a lot of peo­ple that go un­no­ticed, so that’s why I said the award is not just for me but for every­body — Vi Leather

CEL­E­BRATED VOL­UN­TEER: Vi Leather was named Cit­i­zen of the Year at the Aus­tralia Day awards in Monto.

Vi speaks on stage with Cr Paul Lobegeier and State MP Jeff Seeney.

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