Pip Lovely, our long-time Volunteer, Vice President and Treasurer was awarded an OAM for service to the community!  Pip has been involved in many organisations as a Volunteer for over 40 years and her commitment to Tall Timbers Centre has been exceptional.    Well deserved.

My start to volunteering started with a wonderful role model in my Mum who was a volunteer at Karonga House at Epping and came home one afternoon to ask me if I would do about 10 signs (as I was an artist and doing a course in ticket writing and calligraphy) this was no problem except they needed them the next my volunteering started with an all-night stint.

After I married in 1969 to Dennis Mum again involved me with Meals on Wheels which continued even when my 2 children were little...they quickly learnt to pick whose house to go into to get the best lollies.

My son Jarrod started cub scouts at 7 and again both Den and I joined the voluntary committee for his unit.  When Kelly (2 years younger) wanted to join Girl Guides I rang the number given me to be informed that if I helped out Kelly’s name would go up the waiting day she was a Brownie and I was the Vice President!!

A stint of poor health after the birth of my younger son, Nathan, was very hard with 9 operations and 2 years of losing confidence and a bout of depression but on 28th May 1983 I was given the news that all was OK and I remember coming back from the doctors and telling Dennis that I would be a victim no more and as I had been given a second chance I was not going to do nothing…I would be heard and I would achieve. Only weeks later I saw a TV commercial advertising this new activity/charity called Riding for the Disabled and I was interested as I had had a horse in WA and loved them, so I rang up Sue Ellen Lovett who was the office manager at the time and came up to Conrad Rd, Kellyville to have a look. Well!!! I was from that moment on hooked on the concepts of horse riding to help the disabled and from then until 1990 was there every Tuesday.  In 1988 I even joined Sue Ellen on a charity horse ride from Cairns to Surfers Paradise as a truck driver (with no truck licence!!) This was a fantastic experience but by 1990 my husband and our business had grown and I was needed to do more secretarial hours so RDA was put behind me.

Only a few months after I joined RDA Kelly’s guide leader left and I put my hand up to be trained as a guide leader.  My trainer (there were 10 ladies in this training group) said at the end of the 2 weekends training that I would either have a terrific unit or the worst in the district!!!  It actually turned out that my unit grew from 18 to 35 girls and we were a very active group with lots of camping and fun.  Guiding took another turn in 1991 when I decided to transfer to a Ranger guide unit.  Guides are from 11-15 years and Ranger guides are 15-18 years old so this older group gave me a lot more opportunity to stretch myself and I took up abseiling and over the next 15 years achieved the highest qualifications possible.   My qualifications were through Scouts so from my training I taught both Scouts and Guides and became a member of the Scout Rock Related Team.  This saw me and another abseil instructor being able to do all the rope work when needed to abseil in to rescue/recover people injured in the Blue Mountain’s rough terrain. Ranger guides also trained me for water activities such as teaching canoeing and kayaking but I do this under sufferance as I hate the water!!!

In 1998 there was a paper advertisement calling for volunteers for the Sydney Olympic so both he and I signed up for being drivers.  Den became a T3 driver which was like a taxi driver in an Olympic car and I was a T2 which meant that I drove for a country...mine being Austria.  What an experience but the Paralympics was even more spectacular and it rekindled my love for helping people with disabilities.  So I remembered RDA and in 2001 after having my right shoulder reconstructed I returned to this new centre at Box Hill...and fell back in love with our whole program and have no intentions of going away again.

Dennis had joined Rotary in 1995 and I had (as a non-Rotarian) run a program called PACE (Pacific, Australian Cultural Exchange), which enabled disadvantaged islanders to come to NSW and see the Australian culture for the month of January.  By 2004 I had been hounded to join so I gave in and joined Granville Rotary club.  Since then both Den and I have travelled extensively with Rotary programs which have included building laboratories, houses, have helped on medical missions and missions to immunise children from the disease, Polio.  Like most voluntary organisations they rely on people stepping up to take positions and I have been President of my club and an Assistant Governor for 4 years in my district.  I am now on the Rotary Australian Health Board.

The Royal Easter show is now on at Homebush and today I have a day off from volunteering there...I have been a team leader volunteer now for 18 years and enjoy talking to the patrons and working with likeminded people who love getting out and helping.

But RDA will always be the love of my volunteering as I love working with they black, white, green, blue, tall, short, able or disabled they make my life fulfilling.

My Thanks to Karen, Nicole and Kerry who were so gracious in putting my name down for this fabulous be thought of as being worthy of consideration is very humbling and I am over the moon to have received an OAM with their help.