Upper Hunter women named on 2020 NSW Department of Primary Industries Hidden Treasures Honour Roll

UPPER Hunter women were extremely well represented in the 2020 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll run by the NSW Department of Primary Industries Rural Women's Network.

This year 104 rural women were recognised for the contribution they have made through volunteering, with 13 of those from the Upper Hunter Shire. Merriwa was particularly well represented.

The Honour Roll was launched on Thursday October 15 by Adam Marshall MP, Minister for Agriculture and Western New South Wales.

The minister acknowledged that the last year has placed enormous pressure on rural and regional women, families and communities and that despite the tough times we find ourselves in, it is the volunteers who have stepped in to support their communities.

"This year has tested our Australian spirit as we have dealt with devastating droughts, fires and floods, and a global pandemic that will change the way we live," he said.

"While we go through this time of change, our country will continue to be held together by our resilient volunteers who dedicate their time to the community.

"This year we have called on our volunteers to go above and beyond in recovery roles across the state.

"Our small gesture of appreciation through their inclusion in this honour roll is a tribute to these rural and regional women, as we continue to focus on building resilience and a rewarding future for the next generation."

Upper Hunter Hidden Treasures 2020:

Carole Johnston volunteered with the Aberdeen Treasures Op Shop for 20 years, with her husband she founded and runs the Aberdeen Care Package Cadets, the Aberdeen Public School breakfast program, and creates twiddle muffs for dementia patients.

Janine Katon is a highly respected lawn bowler who has achieved much for the sport, umpiring, coaching and winning championships, as well as organising community events at the Aberdeen Bowling Club such as cancer fundraisers.

Micelle Loft managed the Merriwa Swimming Pool, and is involved with netball, playing, refereeing, mentoring and organising a local competition, as well as being involved with the Wideland Challenge at the Merriwa Springtime Show.

Lorna Parnell has been volunteer manager of the Merriwa Non-Emergency Medical Transport Service for eight years and is a valued member of the Anglican Church and the Cancer Council fundraising committee.

Edith Shipway has had a long involvement with the Festival of the Fleeces, Merriwa Tourist Welcoming Centre, Merriwa Spinners, Merriwa Jumbucks raising funds for cancer causes and local organisations. She coordinated the successful 'Bugger the Drought' event in 2018.

Tash Taaffe volunteers with Merriwa Little Athletics, and Merriwa Pony Club canteen which raises money for local causes. She has assisted many young people with resumes, references and interviews. Council's Merriwa Community Services Officer, she co-ordinates playgroup and the Merriwa Family Support Group.

Christine Riley of Cassilis has been involved with the Merriwa Campdraft and Merriwa Pony Club for many years and volunteers many hours for the Cassilis Bowling Club, Cassilis Tennis Club, Cassilis Pony Club, and the Cassilis Camping, Campfires and Country Music weekend.

Julia Wilton is activities officer at Gummun Hostel but contributes additional care including craft workshops, excursions, and market days to earn money for resources at the hostel, and the popular Christmas in July lunches. She is also volunteers with junior league, touch football, netball, swimming club and the P&C.

Christine Betts, Justine Cooper and Jenny Loasby are the drivers behind Murrurundi's 'Doing it for Our Farmers' Pop-Up Pantry.

Cassie Fisher of Scone is involved with Showstoppers Ability Services and her achievements include starting her own fashion design business and representing Australia in the International Special Needs Taekwondo Games, winning a gold and silver medals.

Carol Ray of Scone volunteers with the Aberdeen Golden Oldies movies and luncheons, the Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, Transcare, Scone High School canteen and three Council committees - Aberdeen Revitalisation, Access and Inclusion, and Community Services