Volunteers honoured at awards
THEY are always first with their hand raised, eager to help others, and to make the Southern Downs the booming region it is today.
At the Champion Volunteer Awards last night the longest serving award with more than 52 years of service was awarded to Doug Cutmore, hardest working was presented to Ethel Austen and John Wilson received most innovative.
Mr Cutmore, a previous Warwick Shire councillor, has been offering his hand since about 1958 with about 17 organisations under his belt, which he has supported as a volunteer.
When he spoke to the Daily News yesterday he was out shopping for the upcoming Caledonian Ball, which he has supported for a whopping four decades.
“It gives you some sense of satisfaction – I can’t explain the feeling,” Mr Cutmore said.
He currently volunteers with nine organisations with plenty from the past he was associated with while his children were growing up.
After finishing his stint as councillor he undertook more volunteering with Meals on Wheels and the Warwick Crime Stoppers committee.
Mr Cutmore has served for about four decades with the Warwick Thistle Pipe Band, Warwick Caledonian Society and the Cunningham Masonic Lodge.
“I get a kick out of being able to help people in the community. I thank God every morning I am able to do it,” Mr Cutmore said.
For 20 years Ethel Austen has volunteered at the Warwick Golf Club and has used all her energy and skills to make sure the course is always in peak condition.
AT 83 years old, Mrs Austen still plays 18 holes of competitive golf twice a week and volunteers on the course for about four days a week.
She starts her day of volunteering at 6am and will continue working for about four hours where she usually works on her own.
“I live in a lovely little flat and I have nothing else to do and I just enjoy being up there,” Mrs Austen said.
“I didn’t have a clue I was nominated. I am in shock. It was a big surprise for me.”
She epitomises the ‘hardest working’ tag as she regularly keeps the gardening maintenance up to scratch, plants and waters trees, poisons weeds around the greens and course, does landscaping, cleans and works on other tasks she thinks need attention.
Mrs Austen recently purchased and laid pavers on the pathway to the course toilet and renovated the elevated second tee.
She has been described as a “one-off” and inspiration to the local community where she has more plans for the future of the course grounds.
Warwick Show and Rodeo Society chairman John Wilson has volunteered for the society since he moved to the Rose City in 1986 and started off volunteering in the bar that first year.
“The reason I got started is because I felt very strongly about the community being able to show off their talents,” Mr Wilson said.
“I give what I can and do what I can.”
Mr Wilson is always willing to investigate and look at new innovations to help drive the Show and Rodeo so it can grow each year providing for the community.
An initiative which gives him great pleasure is his instigation of the Special Needs Event before every second Warwick Show where the special needs children from around the area are given free show rides, interaction with police, ambulance and the fire brigade plus food and entertainment.
Many of these children would not be able to have this experience on a normal show day and Mr Wilson saw the need to include these children.
“You have no idea what joy it brings me. The fulfilment seeing them extremely happy – what more of a reason would you want to do it?” Mr Wilson asked.
“If I can walk about and say I have helped then that is all I need.”
Mr Wilson has also created and maintained a strong working relationship with many levels of government and emergency services which enhances the running of the Show and Rodeo each year.
He is considered to be an inspiration to all volunteers for his desire to investigate new and innovative ideas to enhance important Rose City events.
“I just have so much fun being with people who enjoy what they do,” Mr Wilson said.
“At the end of the day everyone is fantastic and we have a good time.”