OAM re­cip­i­ent sports her hon­our with pride

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

RE­CEIV­ING an Or­der of Australia Medal has been a “sur­real” ex­pe­ri­ence for Whit­sun­day sports en­thu­si­ast Wendy Downes.

The 71-year-old was recog­nised for her ser­vice to the com­mu­nity and triathlon and run­ning sports.

When her name was called at the cer­e­mony on May 6 at Gov­ern­ment House, Mrs Downes said she couldn’t help but think, “Wow, it’s re­ally hap­pen­ing.”

“To be hon­oured in this way is just in­cred­i­ble,” she said. “It made me feel like I was re­ally some­one spe­cial.”

Mrs Downs has been in­volved in a cross-sec­tion of com­mu­nity events and or­gan­i­sa­tions in the 17 years she has been a res­i­dent of the re­gion.

This in­cludes be­ing a found­ing mem­ber of Zonta’s Whit­sun­day branch, Whit­sun­day co-or­di­na­tor for the Va­ri­ety Club of Queens­land’s Old Bags Lunch and a Queens­land Can­cer Coun­cil vol­un­teer.

She co-or­di­nated the Whit­sun­day Re­lay for Life and Run for Cure fundrais­ing pro­grams and chaired the Queens­land Re­lay for Life task force.

A keen ath­lete who be­lieves there is no ex­cuse not to be in­volved in com­mu­nity sports, Mrs Downes is a found­ing mem­ber of the Whit­sun­day Triathlon Club and pushed to cre­ate the first Air­lie Beach Triathlon.

She is also the Whit­sun­day Run­ning Club found­ing pres­i­dent and Air­lie Beach Run­ning Fes­ti­val co-or­di­na­tor.

She said the cer­e­mony pro­vided an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity to mix with the other re­cip­i­ents, which in­cluded Olympians and peo­ple in­volved in med­i­cal re­search.

She planned to join the Or­der of Australia as­so­ci­a­tion to help en­cour­age and hon­our other con­tribut­ing mem­bers of the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity.

“Vol­un­teers do things be­cause they want to do it, not be­cause they have to,” Mrs Downes said.

WELL DE­SERVED: Wendy Downes sip­ping on a glass of cham­pagne in the gar­dens of Gov­ern­ment House af­ter be­ing awarded her OAM.

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