Former Port Macquarie restaurateur Tommy Jeffs has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List for service to the hospitality industry.
Mr Jeffs, who runs Montrose House in Canowindra, has been an active fund-raiser for causes spreading from his birthplace in Cowra to Port Macquarie and Orange.
During his 15 years in Port Macquarie, Mr Jeffs raised between $850,000 and $900,000 for groups including Camp Quality, The Salvation Army and Cancer Council.
"I've raised $1.2 million in 50 years. I've done $300,000 since I've been back in Cowra and Canowindra," he said.
The colourful Mr Jeffs is also known for his drag queen character Tallulah, who has been a key driver behind his fundraising work.
He said he was delighted to be awarded the OAM.
"It's the greatest thing that has every happened to me. It's knocked my socks off," he said.
"I'm so pleased I've got this award because I can use it to get more things done."
His fundraising has also aided Ronald McDonald House in Orange, the Lions Club of Cowra and Canowindra, Cowra headspace and Beyond Blue.
His work with RMH Orange has included making donations and judging fashions on the field at a fundraising harness racing meeting in 2018.
Mr Jeffs said he had been motivated to help others by his mother Annie.
"It's a real battler's story. She always told us to work hard," he said.
It's the greatest thing that has every happened to me. It's knocked my socks off.Tommy Jeffs, OAM
"I just get the nicest things out of it. I've done that all my life."
He was one of the founding members of the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie Sunrise.
Mr Jeffs received the Premier's Award for outstanding community achievement in 1995 and was named Port Macquarie-Hastings Citizen of the Year in 2006.
He is a proud honorary member of the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie West.
After growing up in Cowra he moved to Kings Cross where he was involved in the entertainment industry.
He moved to Port Macquarie and ran Tommy's on the Beach restaurant and was involved with extensive charity work.
Mr Jeffs said he returned to Canowindra to be with his sister who was ill and started The Deli Lama cafe in the town before taking on Montrose House.
He said his current projects included fundraising for the Canowindra Tigers rugby league team which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year plus trying to improve the railway station precinct.
"I'm trying to get the silos out here painted," he said.
"We're trying to get $100,000. We want to get the railway station painted [with a mural]," he said.
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