HAWKESBURY HELPING HANDS – WINS VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD

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.

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

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 “.

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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.

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

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 cross-section 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.