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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13244

Mr THISTLETHWAITE (Kingsford Smith) (13:42): Last Thursday I was pleased to host the second annual Kingsford Smith Community Service and Vi Robbins Volunteer of the Year Awards. I established these awards last year to thank and pay tribute to the many volunteers in our community who literally volunteer for hundreds of thousands of hours to make our community a better place to live and also to encourage others to get involved in volunteering.

Happily, this year's awards necessitated a bigger venue. We had double the number of attendees, and the awards featured performances from the wonderful Daceyville choir and many inspirational stories from the award recipients, including Filomena D'Alessandro-Green, who organised a dignified funeral service for a little baby girl found dead on Maroubra Beach, and Ian Levitt, who has volunteered at the local Pagewood Botany Football Club as cleaner, handyman, chef and coach for over 30 years.

Named in honour of the late Vi Robbins who volunteered at the Prince of Wales Hospital in our community up until she was 110 years old, this year's big award went to Betty Valius of South Eastern Community Connect for her 30 years of service volunteering to help new migrants settle in our community, acting as a medical companion for doctors appointments, running the Spanish school for children and helping organise events such as Harmony Day, Mental Health Month and Australia's Biggest Morning Tea.

We are a very large country with a small population. Without volunteers, we would not be able to live the lives that we do. On behalf of the people of Kingsford Smith, I thank all of our volunteers.