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Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Page: 1258

Mrs ELLIOT (Parliamentary Secretary for Trade) (9:57 AM) —I rise today to speak about a really outstanding individual in my electorate. This wonderful woman is Lorraine Grennan. I would like to congratulate Lorraine. She was recently awarded the Tweed Shire Council Citizen of the Year. She is a truly remarkable woman. Lorraine was recognised as the Tweed Shire Council Citizen of the Year at the Australia Day ceremony held at Bogangar. She and other recipients were acknowledged for the great work and achievements that they do within the Tweed Shire.

I was very pleased to be able to attend these Australia Day celebrations, which also incorporated the citizenship ceremony. But it really was a day that highlighted Lorraine’s remarkable work. She was recognised for her ongoing work with a group called Compassionate Friends. This is a group that provides ongoing support for bereaved family members. Lorraine has been doing this work for a long period of time and is such a committed, dedicated and inspirational woman.

Lorraine was born in 1940 and has lived her whole life in the Tweed, where she met and married Barry Grennan and where they raised five children. On 23 March 1983 Lorraine experienced her own family tragedy with the heartbreaking death of her son Michael at the age of 20 from leukaemia. As Lorraine has said:

The grief process is extremely complex. It is very different from one person to another and these feelings never go away entirely.

She was very eager to fight this disease and assist where she could. She did lots of voluntary work with St Vincent de Paul and assisted many groups in raising money for cancer research. In August 1992 she started having meetings in her home for bereaved parents to provide support. The local chapter of Compassionate Friends was started to provide much-needed support right across the North Coast. Nearly 18 years later she is still having meetings in her home, with many people coming from South-East Queensland as well as from around the Northern Rivers. Compassionate Friends is an international organisation of bereaved parents offering friendship and support. It is non-denominational and non-profit and was founded in England in 1969.

For the past two decades Lorraine has staged many meetings in her home. She makes many phone calls to grieving families. She organises special Christmas lunches. In 1993 she completed a book about her son Mick as part of dealing with her grief, and the book was titled Mick, Send Me a Butterfly. She receives overwhelming support from our community and she is a very highly regarded and very caring woman who continually reaches out to those in need of compassion and sympathy. I think the fact that she has been committed to Compassionate Friends for over two decades shows her level of absolute dedication. She really is one of the most truly caring and sympathetic people I have ever met. I congratulate Lorraine Grennan on this outstanding effort. She is an incredibly worthy recipient of the Tweed Shire Council Citizen of the Year.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Peter Slipper)—Order! In accordance with standing order 193 the time for constituency statements has concluded.