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Coffs Harbour Pink Ladies President Helen Mears with her daughter Louise Austin at the Centre for Volunteering's virtual awards ceremony.

Helen earns volunteering accolade

Aug 27, 2021

In recognition of her hard work and commitment to Coffs Harbour Health Campus, Pink Ladies President Helen Mears has been named the region’s 2021 Senior Volunteer of the Year.

A virtual awards ceremony, hosted by the state’s peak body for volunteering, The Centre for Volunteering, was held recently to recognise the region’s volunteers. 

In the 40 years that Helen has been a United Hospital Auxiliaries volunteer at CHHC, she has fundraised for medical equipment, staffed the hospital’s cafe and gift shop, and recruited, managed and inspired countless volunteers.

Helen has been branch President for more than 30 years, overseeing fundraising of more than $3 million for the hospital.

During 2020, when all volunteer services were suspended due to COVID-19, Helen volunteered to order stock and was heavily involved in the reopening of the gift shop and ensuring it was safe for all volunteers to return.

When the vaccination program was rolled out at CHHC, she volunteered her time, mostly on weekends, to sort care packs for all staff who were receiving the vaccine. She also volunteers in the Special Care Nursery, provides a monthly homemade morning tea for Mental Health and caters for regular meetings at Shearwater Lodge, an accommodation centre for cancer patients.

The Centre for Volunteering accolade follows hot on the heels of another award bestowed on Helen in June – the Mid North Coast Local Health District’s Health Innovation Award for Volunteer of the Year.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh was among many on the Coffs Coast to congratulate Helen on her latest honour.

“The online ceremony gave us the chance to come together to say thank you to our local volunteers, who are the lifeblood of our communities. We’re extremely grateful for their continued commitment,” Mr Singh said.

“Helen has been a United Hospital Auxiliaries volunteer at Coffs Harbour Health Campus for the past 40 years and I applaud her for her passion and dedication.”

The Upper North Coast 2021 Volunteer of the Year was Frazer Shepherd, a St Johns Ambulance volunteer, and Volunteer Team of the Year was Bellingen Vinnies Shop.

The awards are supported by the NSW Government and ClubsNSW. For more information, visit The Centre for Volunteering. 

woman looking at Zoom meeting on big screen

Helen Mears at the virtual awards ceremony.

two women distanced in a room

Helen Mears at the COVID-safe ceremony, with Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Manager of Inpatient Services at CHHC, Carmen Morgan, looking on.

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