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Finalists announced for WA Seniors Awards

Six outstanding seniors have been named finalists in the annual WA Seniors Awards.

The group includes an advocate for encouraging older adults to remain active, an active volunteer in the Dardanup community and a senior who runs a community event providing entertainment, music and comedy every week in the Perth central business district.

The finalists were selected from a broad field of candidates and have each demonstrated significant dedication and commitment to working with seniors in the community.

The WA Seniors Awards recognise the important contribution of seniors to the community, as well as those who work to improve the lives of older Western Australians.

A new format has been adopted for the 2017 awards with a metropolitan and a regional winner.

Winners will be announced at an event hosted by Seniors and Ageing Minister Mick Murray on October 22, 2017.

The 2017 WA Seniors Awards are presented by the Council on the Ageing (WA) in partnership with the Department of Communities.

Seniors and Ageing Minister Mick Murray said “there is a wonderfully diverse group of finalists in this year’s WA Seniors Awards.

“What stands out with this year’s finalists is their commitment to bettering the lives of their fellow seniors as well as the community in general.

“They are a great example of continuing to be active in later life and proving age is no barrier to being involved in your community.”

Metropolitan finalists

Philip Paddon

Philip Paddon has been volunteering for more than 15 years encouraging and supporting older adults to remain active as they age. He is currently the vice president of the Seniors Recreation Council of WA (SRCWA) and is highly involved in Have a Go Day, an annual event for seniors. He runs annual events for the Square Dancing Association of WA and country music concerts for the SRCWA. He is the former president and first aid officer of the Over 55 Walking Club and remains a weekly walker.

Maureen Felton

Maureen Felton has worked as a facilitator at the Holly Wood Tuesday Morning Show for more than 16 years. The Holly Wood Tuesday Morning Show runs every Tuesday morning at the Perth Town Hall and provides an opportunity for seniors to enjoy camaraderie and entertainment. Maureen runs regular raffles and other initiatives to raise much needed funds for organisations such as St Bartholomew’s House, Wheelchairs for Kids, Alzheimer’s Australia, Red Cross, Diabetes WA, Zonta House and Esther Foundation. She has also implemented fashion parades featuring regular visitors to the show as models.

Quentin Smythe

Quentin Smythe is the co-founder of Have a Go News and has spent the last 26 of his 82 years working for the betterment of older people in the community. He is also a committee member for the Seniors Recreation Council of WA and has spent considerable time helping organise projects which promote healthy ageing through activity, and ensuring that seniors have a landscape to age well in WA. Quentin established the Living Histories project where more than 1,000 people have shared their stories of living in the 1950s.

Regional finalists

Lesley Balinski

Lesley Balinski is involved in a wide range of community projects in the town. She volunteers for the Katanning Harmony Festival, is the President of the Katanning Dramatic Society, and is a member of the Katanning Action Network. Lesley is actively involved in working with the cultural and linguistically diverse community in Katanning tutoring English, helping new arrivals settle in the town, and advocating for them as part of the Katanning Multicultural District Health Advisory Council. She also works closely with the town’s youth organising events, drama workshops and teaching ballroom dancing.

Harold Proud

Harold Proud has always been passionate about business development in Kulin, offering support and start-up assistance for new businesses to become established in Kulin. He built three shops in the town in the 1960s which encouraged farmers to invest in their own communities. At 96, he is involved in assisting in events for a number of community groups including the local schools and the theatre group. He served as a shire councillor three times, amassing a term of nearly 20 years.

Gwen Wells

Gwen Wells is involved in a number of local organisations including the Senior Citizen’s Association and the South West Rose Group. She has been a volunteer for the Red Cross for more than 25 years. Gwen regularly participates in community charity drives and organises regular events and outings for seniors in the town. In 2017, Gwen was awarded the Australia Day WA Community Senior Citizen of the Year Award, recognising her long history of volunteering and commitment to her community.