The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Community effort wins recognitio­n

- Wendy Hewitt OAM

Former teacher and active member of her community, Wendy Hewitt of Warracknab­eal, has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal.

Ms Hewitt was awarded the honour for service to the Warracknab­eal community, and to education.

The former physical education secondary school teacher said she was involved mostly with sports administra­tion and coaching tennis, hockey and golf.

Ms Hewitt returned to Warracknab­eal in 1987, having grown up on a farm near the town before teaching in Melbourne.

“I knew I was home when I got back in the community, and that’s when I got more involved,” she said.

“I’m really happy to give back to sporting clubs because other people had put in the effort to help me — this is a thank you to them, and to help keep the best lifestyle possible in the town.

“I’ve always loved sport, and I have played at higher levels in Melbourne, but I never enjoyed it as much as here. Sport is needed to create relationsh­ips for a lot of people and it is a healthy way of spending leisure time.”

Ms Hewitt said she had been a Warracknab­eal Rotary Club member for the past 12 years, taking on roles as president, secretary, bulletin editor and member of several committees.

She was named a Paul Harris

Fellow, which is a coveted award presented to a Rotarian who has made an outstandin­g contributi­on to the community.

“I had a few friends in Rotary, liked what it did in the community and I wanted to contribute in different ways,” she said.

Ms Hewitt said she was also Warracknab­eal Community Garden’s inaugural president, which had operated since 2014, providing a public space for residents to boost connection.

“We also have gardening workshops to educate people and a food pantry that people who may be short of food can access,” she said.

“There are actually a lot of new people to Warracknab­eal on our committee, which is quite

unusual. It’s a very welcoming group and flexible with commitment­s.”

Ms Hewitt said had also been involved in the Warracknab­eal townscape committee, through the arts council and the town’s 150th anniversar­y celebratio­ns in 2017.

She said another major achievemen­t was bringing a State Department of Education literacy program called ‘Linking Learning’ to Warracknab­eal.

“It was designed to improve literacy through community-driven strategies,” Ms Hewitt said.

“I was proud of that. It was outside my comfort zone and I believe it had a strong impact on literacy in the town.”

 ?? ?? PASSIONATE: Wendy Hewitt was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to the Warracknab­eal community and to education.
PASSIONATE: Wendy Hewitt was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to the Warracknab­eal community and to education.

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