FOR Margaret Whitehead, Port Fairy’s award as the world’s most liveable small community a few years ago was no surprise.
“I’ve always thought it was the most liveable town,” she said.
Mrs Whitehead this week received her own award, an OAM, for her services to the Port Fairy community that have played a part in the town’s win on the world stage.
She said her decades of service stemmed from a desire to give back to the town that had given her and her sisters great support during their early years.
Mrs Whitehead said Port Fairy was a standout example of a town that helped itself.
The huge volunteer support of the Port Fairy Folk Festival allowed the festival to channel money to Port Fairy’s many volunteer groups and help fund excellent recreational and health facilities for the town, she said.
Mrs Whitehead has played a big part in harnessing the support of about 400 volunteers for the festival, serving as its volunteer co-ordinator for the past 23 years.
Being part of that massive volunteer effort still gave her a good buzz each year, she said.
Mrs Whitehead’s community contribution has also included her role as president of the Friends of Moyneyana House, an aged-care residential centre at Moyne Health Services.
The group holds fund-raisers each year and has donated more than $500,000 to Moyneyana House.
She said she got involved with the Friends group as a tribute to champion cyclist Graham Woodrup, a big supporter of the hospital, who was killed while riding his bike on the night the Friends group was to be formed.
“I went to school with him,” Mrs Whitehead said.
She has also served as president and member of the Port Fairy Rotary Club and as president of the Port Fairy Historical Society.
Other contributions have been as secretary of the Friends of Pallisters Reserve at Orford for more than 20 years and as a mayor and councillor in the 1970s and early 1980s on the Port Fairy Borough Council, a predecessor of the amalgamated Moyne Shire Council.
During her time, the borough council’s responsibilities expanded from roads and footpaths to include social services and environmental care, she said.