Ipswich volunteer honoured by OAM

Ipswich community volunteer Denise Hanly has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her services to Ipswich.

Mrs Hanly said she was surprised to get the news she was receiving the honour.

“They sent an email saying that the Governor-General had accepted a nomination for me to be awarded the OAM,” Mrs Hanly said.

“I don’t even know who nominated me – I would never put myself forward for a nomination because there are so many people in the city that do such great work,” she said.

“I’m struggling to think that my peers have obviously thought enough of my work to put me forward.”

“It’s very humbling and I appreciate that they think enough of me and the work that I’ve been doing over the past 40 years to make that nomination.”

Mrs Hanly who first moved to Ipswich in 1970 has been involved as a volunteer with the community for more than 40 years.

A member of many different community organisations Mrs Hanly’s involvement ranges from helping organisations structure enterprise agreements to saving tuckshops at local schools.

“St Josephs were thinking about closing down their tuckshop one extra day a week because they didn’t have the parent’s there to help so I thought I could give them one day a week.”

Volunteering is something Mrs Hanly feels is very important for the community and continually encourages young people to be a part of the community.

“I feel sometimes you got to get younger people to step up into volunteer roles because (organisations) they need the life of new blood to keep them going.”

Mrs Hanly is the only person from Ipswich to be named as a recipient of an Australia Day Honour.

“It’s quite humbling for me to be awarded this honour because there’s a lot of people in the city who also volunteer their time,” she said.

Mrs Hanly’s volunteer work has even led to her making history with Ipswich Turf Club.

“I’m on the Ipswich Turf Club Committee where I’m the first female in over 160 years of the Turf Club’s history to have been voted onto the committee,” she said.

Mrs Hanly was emotional when recounting her long history as a volunteer in the community.

“When I became a single parent, this city was very good to me – sorry I get quite emotional about it,” she said.

“I just felt the city had given me a lot of opportunities over time and for me it’s like paying it forward.”

“You put back into a community because you feel you gain as well – the community has been very good to me.”

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