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Epping Community 2121 Awards

Posted 20 December 2022

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Epping Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank established the Community 2121 Awards in 2006. These awards are presented to deserving local residents who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and selfless dedication for the benefit of our community.

There are numerous volunteers and community-minded local citizens who assist our schools, community agencies, welfare associations, arts and music societies, charitable organisations, sports clubs, and various other groups.

We see the Community 2121 Awards as recognition of these QUIET achievers who tirelessly work in so many ways to serve our community in an outstanding capacity.

In 2022, we recognised six deserving volunteers, all of whom devoted their time and energy to effectively manage the operation of the DARTS not-for-profit bus service that provided door-to-door transportation in wheelchair accessible buses for locals with mobility issues to access North Epping shops, hairdressers, and ATMs. The Epping Community Bank has provided partial funding for this service since 2006.

As long-term volunteers on the community bus, that service alone would be sufficient to qualify our candidates for Community 2121 Awards. But a number of them also did other community volunteer work, and we acknowledge those activities as well.

CLIVE AND ELIZABETH GILLAM

Clive first volunteered on the Community Bus Service in 2011, and it gave him great satisfaction to be able to help the elderly people who greatly appreciated the bus each Tuesday. This sense of satisfaction was doubled when his wife Elizabeth also joined the team.

Clive and Elizabeth continued to volunteer for the bus service until late 2020, when they made the difficult decision to resign due to some health issues.  

Both of them regard it a great privilege to have been able to volunteer on the bus and support the work of the Bendigo Bank in our local community.

JOHN MORRIS

John Morris has been a volunteer on the community bus for about 7 years, but he was also a volunteer bus driver for St Catherine’s Nursing Home in Marsfield for 6 years.

In this capacity, he drove residents of the Nursing Home on a fortnightly outing to various scenic places around Sydney, as well as to the Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club for lunch and shopping at West Ryde.

PARVEEN GOEL

In 1996, Parveen started his volunteer work with special needs children at Truscott Street Public School, spending an hour a week with the children during lunchtime to entertain them in various ways. He continued to do this work until 2010.

In 2007, Parveen started as a volunteer at Westmead hospital as a patient guide, taking patients and visitors around the hospital, and transporting those with mobility issues around the hospital in a type of golf buggy. This continued until 2016.

In 2015, Parveen started volunteering with Hills Shire Council in Medical Patient Transport, taking elderly patients from their residence to their medical appointments and back. At the same time, he also worked with meals on wheels. He continued these activities until the COVID outbreak.

Also in 2015, Parveen started working with our community bus team to help elderly people to get out for shopping and other needs on Tuesdays. He maintained his commitment to the community bus until it was wound up early this year.

PETER AMOS

Settling in Epping in the 1990s, Peter began a variety of volunteer roles. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Cheltenham Girls High School computer network; spent several years as a volunteer for the North Epping Progress Association; and several more years volunteering for the Eastwood-Thornleigh Tennis Association in various capacities and positions.

From 2007-2017 Peter served on the Motorsport Club Organising Committee and as an event official for the Club’s motorsport events, including three at Mt Panorama.

From 2006 to 2015, Peter was an active volunteer and coordinator of the Epping Community Bank Community Bus, and has since been called upon in emergencies to fill temporary conductor vacancies.

DERRY THOMAS

Derry has a lifetime of volunteering which covers many different activities

For the Scouting movement, in the 1970s he established the Murray Farm Scout Group and was their first leader. In 1990, during an exchange year to Hall Green College in Birmingham, he became a local scout leader there, too. On returning to North Epping, he became a Venturer leader and organiser with the North Epping Scout group.

When his children started school, he became a committee member for the local pre-school, and a soccer coach for the North Epping Rangers youngest players. He subsequently became a volunteer computer teacher at Epping North Public School, and he also ran the school’s Environment Club. More recently he was a mentor in the Epping Community Bank’s Financial Literacy Program at the school.

Following his retirement from TAFE NSW, Derry was accepted as a Volunteer for Engineers Without Borders. In 2012-2013, he and his wife Jane moved to Dili, with Derry working at the university of Timor L’Este Institute of Technology. He assisted the staff in the Engineering Department to develop the curriculum to meet modern international standards.

More recently, Derry and Jane’s interest in volunteering switched to a special type of car rally. The cars in these rallies could only be two-wheel-drive and worth less than a thousand dollars, but had to travel thousands of kilometres, usually on unsealed roads. Derry and Jane have participated in two such rallies, one in October 2019, and another in March this year.

These rallies raise funds for Cancer Council Research, and over many years have raised over $30 million. The Thomas’ car, named NORFOLK AND CHANCE, over their two rallies, raised $18,500, thanks to the support of friends and family.

Even now, Derry is part of the Committee to establish the North Epping Men’s Shed, which hopefully will be opened next year.

In 2015, Derry took over from Peter Amos as coordinator of the Community Bus Service, and has been doing that job up to the closure of the service.

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