Busy volunteer is the epitome of generosity and community spirit

She helps parents borrow toys for their children – Elmo and Raggedy Ann may be included.

Sue Gardner was a deserving nominee for The Heart of Volunteering Award in the 2019 NQ Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Sue said she first started volunteering in 2015 after her husband passed away.

“It was not long after I retired from teaching so I needed to keep busy,” she said.

“My daughter showed me information about the Pyjama Foundation which seemed to fit with my teaching experience.”

“I mentor a cherub for one hour once per week and also look after the resource room. I am still with the Pyjama Foundation and I volunteer at the Townsville Toy Library.”

She also knits ‘knockers’ for the Townsville branch of the PJF and volunteers at the Blood Bank usually once a month. She is also Secretary of the Probus Club of Townsville Inc.

“With the PJF I am helping foster children experience success at school, at the Toy Library I help families borrow toys for their children I knit knockers to support women who have mastectomies and at the Probus Club we help seniors socialise,” she said

At each organisation, Sue feels a valuable part of the team.

“In each organisation I meet people who have the same values as me and they make me feel I am doing something worthwhile for the community,” she said.

“I am helping others and helping make the local community a better place to live.”

Being nominated and celebrating with the other amazing people also nominated for awards at the inaugural North Queensland Volunteer of the Year Awards was a highlight, Sue said.

The Pyjama Foundation named her an “Angel” of the year in 2018.

Volunteering has helped her grow as a person, she said.

“You wonder when you retire how to fill the days but by volunteering life becomes busy but in a good way.”