Mildura Weekly : Friday February 7 2014 Vol 8 No 14
www.milduraweekly.com.au 20 Mildura Weekly – 07/02/14 IN THE RIVERLAND THIS WEEK By BEV STORY DI Tillett’s long-term contribution to community activities saw her named Berri-Barmera Council’s 2014 Aus- tralia Day Citizen of the Year. The 74-year-old Barmera wom- an’s commitment to volunteering in the community was strong during her working years – as a face known to many during 40 years at Barmera Library. However, it was her volunteer activities across so many sections of the community that made the selec- tion panel decide she was worthy of recognition. Di’s contributions have included several musical groups, book club, church, aged care villages, Red Cross and the women’s public speaking group Penguins, yet she was amazed to win the award. “I was stunned – I could barely believe it,” Di said. “I couldn’t see why I had got it.” She has been a member Pen- guins for nearly 40 years – initially as a member of the Barmera Penguins’ group, which no longer exists, hav- ing suffered from a lack of numbers. Di said there was once a Pen- guins Club in each Riverland town, but she hasn’t let the demise of local groups stop her involvement. Penguins affiliate She is still an affiliated member of Penguins South Australia, and travels to Adelaide to attend events once or twice a year. Di was born in Barmera – the only child of the late Vic and Ellie Tillett. It was as a child that she started attending Barmera Congregational Church – now Barmera Uniting Church, and is still a regular and committed member. She enjoyed a happy childhood in Barmera town and on a Loveday citrus property, owned by her Mum’s sister and brother-in-law, Eva and Murray Elkins. She was still only young when her father died, and she lived with the Elkins family for a couple of years. “I lived in the town in the ‘40s in Barmera, and attended Loveday schools and Barmera school,” Di said. “I had a really happy child- hood. We had to walk to school – a mile and back - we never knew any different. Everybody had to walk in those days, so it wasn’t anything spe- cial.” At the age of 18, Di moved to Ad- elaide to train as a nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, followed by a stint at the Queen Victoria Hospital for midwifery training. “I did about five years training, then I got a part-time job up here, tutoring at the Barmera Hospital,” she said. Health problems in the fam- ily prompted her return to the Riv- erland, and she continued nursing part-time for 27 years. She also start- ed her 40-year-career at the Barmera Library at that time, and has a love of reading that remains today. Di reads every day, and passes on that joy to others at Hawdon House and Bonney Lodge, where she keeps aged residents up to date with local news by reading items from various newspapers. She initiated the Barmera Read- ing Group after she retired in 2004. It has 10 or 11 members who read the same book each month, meeting at the Barmera Library on the third Friday of each month at 6.30pm. An interest in music Members have a list of books to choose from, and vote on which one they will read. Di also enjoys the friendships she has with the people in the group. She also enjoys mu- sic, and is a member of a couple of music groups, including Riverland Choral Group, which meets at Berri Primary School weekly on Mondays at 7.30pm. “I would have been a member for about 20 years – we sing at vari- ous community events,” Di said. The Riverland Musical Society has also benefitted from Di’s in- volvement, and has bestowed life membership on her. Di claims she is a rather ordi- nary alto singer, and doesn’t have a favourite musical. “White Horse Inn, Annie Get Your Gun, Merry Widow – there was so many of them,” she said. “I also sing with a little group called Opera Et Ceta. We meet once a week, with eight to 10 members. We usually hold little evenings, and per- form opera pieces and other musical art songs, including chamber music from classical composers as well as opera.” Di has been a member of Barmera Red Cross branch for about 30 years, and also enjoys her time with the Barmera Uniting Church singing group. Berri-Barmera Council mayor Pe- ter Hunt presented Di with her 2014 Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award at its ceremony on the Berri riverfront following the community breakfast on January 26. Community volunteer has a song in her heart BUSY WOMAN: Despite having a ‘finger’ in many volunteer ‘pies,’ Di still finds time to potter in her garden. LEADERSHIP DIRECTION CLARITY CERTAINTY CALL TODAY TO ORGANISE YOUR COMPLIMENTARY NO OBLIGATION APPOINTMENT 5021 1235 234 Deakin Ave, Mildura VIC 3500 | 2A Para St, Renmark SA 5431 | www.trilogyfg.com.au | firstname.lastname@example.org The team at Trilogy Financial Group are experts in wealth protection, including... Income Protection - Life Insurance - Total & Permanent Disability Insurance - Critical Illness Protection TRILOGY WILL BE WITH YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY, ASSISTING YOU WITH YOUR CLAIM WHEN YOU NEED IT MOST CAN YOU KEEP YOUR HOME IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG? 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Friday January 31 Vol 8 No 13
Friday February 14 2014 Vol 8 No 15