Williams takes home top volunteering prize

LESLIE Williams was recently recognised at the 2018 Southern Cross Television Tasmanian Volunteering Awards for his significant contribution to the local community.

He received the Community Care and Health Award and took out the prestigious title of Premier’s Volunteer of the Year.

Minister Jacquie Petrusma presented the awards to Mr Williams who has been actively participating in the community for more than 60 years.

His volunteering roles have included youth worker, president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, fundraiser, as well as providing support and advocacy.

“I thought I didn’t have much of a chance of winning the category I was nominated for, so it was very unexpected to receive both awards,” Mr Williams said.

“I’m very honoured and very pleased.”

In addition to volunteering, Mr Williams and his wife Lucy had been dedicating themselves to raising their twin granddaughters, one of whom has recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

Mr Williams currently works with Huntington’s Disease Association of Tasmania, supporting families and raising awareness.

“The biggest highlight is when you know someone wants something like a wheelchair, and you organise an event to fundraise and you see the joy in their face when they’ve finally got something they can use for assistance in their life,” he said.

“I just think it’s so important to give back to the community and to help others who can’t always help themselves.”

Fiona Armstrong from 26TEN also won the TasTAFE Education, Science and Technology Award.

Chris Dalton from Sole Mates and Christine Gimblett from Lions Club of Brighton were nominated as finalists in their categories.

Volunteering Tasmania’s chief executive officer Alison Lai said the judging panel found it extremely difficult to narrow down the finalists “when so many people were doing incredible things.”

“Volunteering is not measured through the number of hours people give, but by the impact of what they’re doing,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter if you are giving one hour a week, a few hours each month, one day a year or more, collectively volunteers are contributing an estimated $4.9 billion dollars to Tasmania each year and making a difference, and for this we thank them all.”

Patron of Volunteering Tasmania Her Excellency, Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AC, Governor of Tasmania hosted the 27 finalists, their nominators, industry sponsors and VIPs at the official Awards ceremony at Government House.

The Awards are Tasmania’s only statewide program that formally recognises excellence in volunteering and are supported by the State Government and valued sponsors.

Caption: Minister Jacquie Petrusma, winner of the Premier’s Volunteer of the Year Leslie Williams, and Her Excellency, Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AC, Governor of Tasmania.