HAWKESBURY HELP­ING HANDS

WINS VOL­UN­TEER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Front Page - Story and pho­tos by Bev Jor­dan

In a com­mu­nity packed with amaz­ing vol­un­teers it was Ge­orge Til­lett who was named the 2018 Hornsby/North Western Syd­ney Vol­un­teer of the Year.

The Cen­tre of Vol­un­teer­ing re­ceived a stag­ger­ing 218 nom­i­na­tions rep­re­sent­ing more than 6000 vol­un­teers for the awards in the re­gion. State-wide 112,000 vol­un­teers were recog­nised.

Ge­orge Til­lett was nom­i­nated for his work with TAD (Tech­ni­cal Aid for the Dis­abled) and his work with Angli­care. The 75-year-old Glen­haven res­i­dent was named the Se­nior Vol­un­teer of the Year be­fore tak­ing the top ti­tle.

He started vol­un­teer­ing with TAD after 47 years with IBM work­ing in the com­puter pro­gram be­fore mov­ing to adapt­ing model cars to en­able chil­dren with spe­cific needs to ride in them by cus­tom build­ing seats and joy stick con­trols.

“Vol­un­teer­ing gives me the sense of sat­is­fac­tion of be­ing able to do some­thing that makes some­one else’s life eas­ier. Some­times it can be some­thing quite sim­ple."

As an Angli­care vol­un­teer he drives the vil­lage bus and has been giv­ing IT ad­vice to res­i­dents. He said get­ting both awards was very “hum­bling “. Ju­nior Vol­un­teer for the Re­gion was 16-year-old Cas­sidy Strick­land whose con­cerns about the home­less started when she saw a man pick­ing through the fam­ily’s rub­bish look­ing for food when she was eight years old.

The need to pro­vide proper food led her fam­ily to es­tab­lish Hawkesbury Help­ing Hands. The ser­vices now helps 650 peo­ple a week, plus pro­vides swags, ham­pers to those in need and break­fasts and lunch at school.

Cas­sidy gets up early to pre­pare and serve break­fasts and also helps pro­vide food to the home­less at a lo­cal park at the week­end.

Cas­sidy was one of 20 young nom­i­nees vol­un­teer­ing in a huge cross­sec­tion of ar­eas in­clud­ing surf-life-sav­ing, the RSPCA and bush re­gen­er­a­tion.

There were an as­tound­ing 90 teams nom­i­nated in­clud­ing Hawkesbury Help­ing Hands which won the Team of the Year award.

Linda Strick­land said: “We were so very hum­bled and hon­oured, es­pe­cially in the com­pany of the peo­ple in that room.

“Our vol­un­teers work ev­ery day of the year.” There were over 75 nom­i­na­tions in the adult sec­tion which was won by Sean Mooney.

Sean has vol­un­teered with The Syd­ney Story Fac­tory since 2015 work­ing with dis­en­gaged stu­dents at nu­mer­ous schools across Syd­ney.

Fed­eral MP for Mac­quarie Su­san Tem­ple­man with Youth Vol­un­teer win­ner Cas­sidy Strick­land

Min­is­ter for Vol­un­teer­ing Ray Wil­liams MP with Vol­un­teer of the Year for the the Re­gion Ge­orge Til­lett

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