Inspiring residents have been recognised for their tireless dedication to the community at a Warrnambool Celebrage Festival event on Monday.
About 8000 people, or 25 percent of Warrnambool's population, are aged over 60 and Celebrage 2022 recognises the vital role seniors play in creating a vibrant city.
The Celebrage program, which includes community events throughout October was launched at the Archie Graham Community Centre.
Warrnambool City Council mayor Vicki Jellie congratulated and thanked the Warrnambool 2022 Victorian Senior of the Year nominees Denise Richards, Diane Pettigrew, Helen Bunyon and Rosalie Meadows.
Warrnambool Community Garden member Diane Pettigrew was recognised for her role at the site, helping Warrnambool East Primary School establish a kitchen garden, and imparting her knowledge on the next generation.
Ms Pettigrew has also been involved with the volunteer-run arts organisation F Project, the Red Tent Singers, Crossley's St Brigid's Hall 15 Minutes of Fame and volunteers at the Archie Café, which Cr Jellie described as "the heart of the community centre" and a meeting place for residents.
Denise Richards also volunteers at the Archie Café, as well as the Lighthouse Theatre as an usher and the St Vincent de Paul Op Shop. Ms Richards "relates well to people from all walks of life" and Cr Jellie said her genuinely friendly nature made a difference to others and enabled a sense of belonging for the residents she met.
Fellow finalist Helen Bunyon was described as a "crucial part" of the F Project, where she is vice president and lead volunteer.
Cr Jellie said Mrs Bunyon volunteered five to seven days each week with a team of 60 volunteers to help run its various operations with her "commitment and tireless energy" an inspiration.
Rosalie Meadows has volunteered at the West Warrnambool Neighbourhood House since it was established in 2019 and is on the advisory committee.
During COVID-19 Ms Meadows volunteered to ensure vulnerable and disadvantaged families could access food hampers, clothing and other assistance as charities limited contact.
She volunteers with the Red Cross Pillow Case Project, helping school children prepare for emergencies and at Archie Graham's Community Centre's intercultural cafe, helping new migrants learn English.
The ceremony also included a belated presentation for Peek Whurrong Elder Uncle Locky Eccles who won the Victorian Seniors Festival 2021 Victorian Healthy and Active Living Award.
The First Nations Elder received the 2021 award for his intergenerational leadership and sharing language, culture and his passion for sport with the community.
Uncle Locky opted to have the award presented in his hometown of Warrnambool on Monday, rather than Melbourne's Government House after COVID-19 forced the original award's postponement and he couldn't get to Melbourne for the rescheduled date.
Cr Jellie said Uncle Locky was one of the most positive, energetic and generous people she's met and was "the embodiment of what it means to live well".
She paid tribute to his roles as a football umpire and various positions in the Aboriginal community and leadership but said it was his "tireless work" sharing Indigenous language and culture that was "perhaps his most remarkable achievement".
Uncle Locky said it was an honour to accept the long-awaited award from Warrnambool mayor Vicki Jellie and the victory was even sweeter in a room full of the city's residents, which included young and emerging Indigenous community members.
As part of the Victorian Seniors festival, Seniors Card Holders can also enjoy free public transport from October 2-9 and half price entry to Flagstaff Hill throughout October.
The Celebrage program which includes free and low-cost community events throughout October was launched on Monday at the Archie Graham Community Centre.
View the full program at www.warrnambool.vic.gov.au/celebrage or visit the Archie Graham Centre to pick up a copy.
IN OTHER NEWS
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard:
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.