Over one in four residents in The Hills Shire council area volunteers. That’s 26,719 people according to the 2016 Census figures. Reporter and volunteer, BEV JORDAN, spoke to one of them.

Barbara Stewart’s eldest daughter was just five-years-old and had started infants’ school at Baulkham Hills North when a friend asked Mrs Stewart she join her as a volunteer with the local Meals on Wheels Service.

That was 45 years ago and in that time, the now grandmother has delivered thousands of meals to frail and isolated people across the Hills.

There have been many memorable moments in the 45 years of volunteering including fleeing a snake on a delivery to a bush block in the early ‘70s

As well as Meals on Wheels she has volunteered with Leisure Learning in the Hills, teaching knitting and crochet and has taught typing skills at Baulkham Hills High

Caring for family members with cancer also has also led to volunteering with the Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day and the Hills Relay For Life. Barbara Stewart says volunteering has been a very positive part of her life.

“You meet some very interesting people and you make some very nice friends,” she told the Hills to Hawkesbury. People look forward to seeing you and it is nice to talk to them.” She turned 75 in March and has no plans to retire from volunteering. For the past 20 years she has being doing the number one Meals on Wheels run with her husband Brian.

“I enjoy volunteering and as long as we can drive we will carry on doing it,” she said.

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