The Perth volunteers who make Vision Australia Radio so valuable

Wembley Downs resident Jack Greenaway with Vision Australia Radio chief executive Ron Hooton.
Wembley Downs resident Jack Greenaway with Vision Australia Radio chief executive Ron Hooton.

AN invitation to talk about football on air more than two decades ago kicked off John O’Connell’s volunteering efforts at Vision Australia Radio (VAR).

The Morley resident was invited on to a sports program 26 years ago to talk about a big football match that was happening in Europe.

“I think the station is great because it offers a variety of programs outside of what you hear on mainstream radio, there really is something for everyone” he said.

“It’s a great team here at VAR, I’ve really enjoyed being a part of it for so many years.”

Mr O’Connell was among 70 volunteers recognised at the station’s awards ceremony in Como on May 17, ahead of National Volunteer Week.

Volunteer co-ordinator Brigid Barry said it was an opportunity to honour the station’s dedicated broadcast team.

“Volunteers like John contribute hours of their time to ensure this essential news and information radio reading service can be heard by Perth’s low vision and blind community,” she said.

Vision Australia Radio broadcasts in Perth on 990AM, and can be found on digital radio as VA Radio.

Morley volunteer John O’Connell with Vision Australia Radio chief executive Ron Hooton.

JACK Greenaway (87) is Vision Australia Radio’s oldest volunteer, inspired to join two decades ago when his brother lost his eyesight.

“I began volunteering 23 years ago after my brother lost his eyesight in his one remaining eye to macular degeneration, which was unfortunate as he lost the other eye in an accident some years earlier,” the Wembley Downs resident said.

“Working at the station gives me a sense of fulfilment, knowing that I’m giving back to my community and working with wonderful people is what has kept me volunteering for so many years.”

JUDY Richards started volunteering with Vision Australia Radio after she retired seven years ago.

The Kalamunda resident feels that her work is helping people like her father, who was legally blind for the last 25 years of his life after he lost his eyesight to macular degeneration.

“If he was alive today he’d be just loving it, which I why I think VAR is such a worthwhile service,” Judy said.

“I like that I’m spending my retirement giving back to the community, rather than just sitting back – I was here within a year of leaving the workforce.”

Judy Richards, of Kalamunda, has volunteered since she retired seven years ago.