Volunteer Gary belts it out for hostel residents

Volunteer Gary Heatley (71) in a sing-a-long with hostel residents.
Volunteer Gary Heatley (71) in a sing-a-long with hostel residents.

Every week for 18 years, Mr Heatley (71) has been visiting residents of Amana Living’s Thomas Scott Hostel in Camillo to sing to them.

He began singing when his wife had cancer, and they joined a choir together to ease her breathing difficulties.

‘Just before she died, my wife asked me to keep singing,’ he said.

Mr Heatley now averages 250 shows a year at seniors’ centres, care facilities, day clubs and Alzheimer Australia events, sometimes performing three times in one day to backings he records himself, using his own equipment.

He prepares lyric booklets so residents can sing along.

If Mr Heatley is ever paid, he donates the money to Armadale Home Help.

He has raised more than $27,000, but sings to Thomas Scott Hostel residents for free because, he said: ‘They get a thrill out of it and I get a thrill out of it too.’

– More than 70 events were held across WA for National Volunteer Week, including a breakfast at the City of Gosnells Civic Centre. Read about local volunteers who attended in Your Say on this page.

– Nominations are open for this year’s 50-year Volunteer Service Badge recipients.

Find out more at www.communities.wa.gov.au/serviceareas/volunteering/50volbadge