We congratulate our
2013 Grandparent Of The Year Award
2013 Grandparent Of The Year
Pam MacKender from Mt. Austin in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales
2013 Community Service Grandparent Of The Year
Joan O'Regan from Haberfield, New South Wales
In 1999 while in her mid-50s when she could have been chasing her own dreams, Pam MacKender selflessly began her role as full-time residential carer for three of her six grandchildren – one of whom is a special needs child. For 11 of the past 14 years she also cared for her father - a victim of Alzheimer’s – in their small weatherboard house. Living together on a tight budget and with her own health issues, Pam is also a great help to her daughter who suffers from a chronic illness by regularly taking on the extra responsibility of her other grandchildren. As a young woman, Pam was burnt over 65% of her body and for eight years she volunteered supervising others using the hydro pool which helped her so much at the time of her accident. Pam is a truly remarkable and inspiring person.
Other than taking a few hours out of the week to go to Bingo, Joan O’Regan dedicates all her time to her family and the community - volunteering regularly at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the nursing home where her older sister Ida resides. Enjoying a long time involvement with the Meals on Wheels program, Joan also regularly visits the Blood Bank to make a donation. Santa’s favourite helper - from October each year, Joan decorates the interior and exterior of her house with snow, reindeers, bells, Santa Claus, and every other Christmas-related entity imaginable - then opens her doors to family, friends, and members of the public to help make them smile and feel good. During the weeks leading up to Christmas Joan makes her way around the local nursing homes and the hospital dressed as Mrs Claus bringing gifts for patients and residents. Joan remains a pinnacle of optimism, hope and love of her community.
We again thank the Australian grandchildren who judged the Award
and the JamFactory (Adelaide, SA) for generously donating the Awards!
2012 GOTYA winner DOROTHY NASH, known fondly as ‘Mardi’ was a vivacious 71 year old travelling the world enjoying her retirement when she had to step up to permanently care for her three grandchildren – all under the age of 3 - that was 17 years ago!
Over the years, countless court cases meant that Mardi has had to sell a property. She has been in and out of hospital at least seven times since 2009, with major operations on her heart and bowel. On multiple occasions the family were told to ‘prepare’. Mardi has raised three children by herself, without child support or government assistance.
Mardi turned 88 in September, 2012 and is still driving, cleaning and cooking for her grandchildren every day and continues to be an endless source of love, friendship and support.
Not only is Mardi a grandmother, but she is a role model, mentor and best friend. The second chance she gave to her grandchildren allowed them to realise that love and determination are all that is needed to overcome hardship and adversity. She is, in their opinion, the perfect exemplar of a totally selfless human being.
2012 Community Service GOTYA winner (Alan) JOHN WARD John and his wife, Ruth, began caring for granddaughter Kylie in 1997 when she was 10. Over the next 15 years they came to care for 5 out of 6 of their grandchildren – 4 of these were in their permanent care.
John started his venture into voluntary work by joining Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and still remains heavily involved some 15 years later.
is currently the President of the Grandparent Advisory Group and has been instrumental in helping other Grandparent Support Groups around Tasmania and even nationwide. He has travelled around Tasmania at his own cost presenting forums and setting up Grandparent support groups that are still running.
John has fought for policy and legislative changes in Tasmania (often successfully) and has worked closely with groups such as Gateway, Babptcare and Mission Australia in Tasmania and has become well known as an active advocate for the rights of Grandparents caring for their grandchildren.
His focus remains on achieving long term results for Grandparents both financially and emotionally.
We like to introduce you to the winners of the
2011 National Grandparent Of The Year Awards...
Granddad to Samuel, Gerry Brandwood is a mainstay in 6 year old Samuel’s life being a constant in Samuel’s day-to-day routine, his schooling and
Chris Downey is not only a devoted Grandfather and Guardian to young Hayden, who is one of Chris’ 32 grandchildren, but an active volunteer at Moonah Primary School as well as the local community.
The 2011 competition was judged by grandchildren from across Australia who volunteered to take on this most daunting task.
Presentation ceremonies for both winners were held in each of their hometowns.
2010 Winner – Denise Langton
Grandparents For Grandchildren SA Inc., Adelaide, SA
(Denise is pictured with her husband, John and Adelaide Mayor Michael Harbison
at the Lord Mayoral Reception for Grandparents For Grandchildren SA Inc.
held at the Adelaide Town Hall on 10 September, 2010)
In 2004 Denise Langton and her husband John founded Grandparents For Grandchildren SA Inc. DENISE has spent her life tirelessly working to improve the plight of others – often disregarding her own health issues. DENISE’S years of experience gained from her time spent at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of SA and NT, the Australian Red Cross and the Epilepsy Association of SA Inc holds her in good stead as she continues to work determinedly to advance the growth of and secure the future for Grandparents For Grandchildren SA Inc.