Strong contingent represented at state volunteer of the year awards

Volunteer award: Port Macquarie's Evan Cunningham is one of several Mid-North Coast residents in line for the state volunteer of the year award. Photo: Oscar Carter
Volunteer award: Port Macquarie's Evan Cunningham is one of several Mid-North Coast residents in line for the state volunteer of the year award. Photo: Oscar Carter

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Evan Cunningham has given 50 continuous years service to his community.

On Friday the Port Macquarie resident will join with other Mid-North Coast Volunteer of the Year winners as a finalist in the state awards.

At the regional awards in August, Mr Cunningham was named the top volunteer in the seniors category with Meg Cameron, adult category, Taree’s Hayley King, young category and Port Macquarie Lifeline Mid-North Coast Telephone Crisis Support Training Team, the volunteer team winner.

The Centre for Volunteering’s chief executive officer, Gemma Rygate, said the annual awards were the state’s way of recognising the outstanding contribution of volunteers across NSW and of highlighting the wonderful causes for which they work. 

Mr Cunningham said it was wonderful to be recognised and he was looking forward to joining his fellow regional winners at the state awards.

“Just being acknowledged is reward enough,” he said. 

Mr Cunningham was a foundation member of Barraba Apex Club serving as charter president. He remained active with the club until 1971 when he and wife Liz and their family moved to Tea Gardens.

Just being acknowledged is reward enough.

Evan Cunningham

He then joined the Tea Gardens Liong Club and was elected president the next year. He left there in 1985 after major involvement at all levels, including the Tea Gardens Swimming Pool Committee and as a volunteer in Tea Gardens Rural Fire Service.

The couple moved to Port Macquarie and joined Port Macquarie City Lions Club where he maintained a very active involvement.

Evan drives the Salvation Army's Bethany Village bus and served as a volunteer driver for Hastings Macleay Community Transport Service. He was also a Mason for many years, serving as master, only ceasing when he moved and couldn’t attend meetings.

Evan has been involved in many organisations over a sustained period of time, despite running his own business. He was recognised in February at The Lions Centenary Dinner for over 50 years valuable service. 

Evan is still very heavily involved in Lions, serving as bbq coordinator, Duck Race Committee and participates in every aspect of the club, despite being nearly 80.He also still maintains other volunteer work- an extraordinary achievement.

Evan initiated many projects in his volunteer life, including formation and Charter President of Tea Gardens Apex Club, construction of Tea Gardens Swimming Pool, formation of the now famous Lions Duck Race, despite being self employed and raising a family.

The work he has done initiating many projects is quite significant.

The state awards are on Friday December 8 at Norths, Cammeray.

The Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering, the not-for-profit peak body for volunteering in NSW.

The awards are supported by our principal partners the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and ClubsNSW, the industry body which represents the state’s 1200 not-for-profit clubs as well as Bupa Aged Care, Etchcraft and Thrifty Car Rentals.