Heroes honoured in local awards

Norm with Friends of the Community volunteers.
Norm with Friends of the Community volunteers.

HUMBLE, modest and passionate are just a few words used to describe Norm Dale, winner of the local Home-Grown Heroes Award, sponsored by Eliza Ponds Land Estate.

The award set out to find local heroes going above and beyond the call of duty as volunteers in the City of Cockburn.

Among all of the nominations, it was Norm’s passion for the community that saw him take out the top prize.

Celebrated as a devoted supporter and advocate for people less fortunate, his ongoing leadership has resulted in Friends of the Community (FOC) donating more than $120,000 across a total of 30 charities.

From providing morning tea at events to rubbish collections, the 78-year-old retiree said volunteering was rewarding beyond words.

“It’s a lot of pleasure, fun and keeps me fit,” he said

Since the charity’s inception in 2006, Norm has dedicated more than 120 hours a month fundraising for children, the aged, disabled and disadvantaged.

Restored from old caravans, FOC’s food and beverage vans frequent charity events across Perth, providing food, coffee, ice cream and support to anyone he can help.

One of his initiatives provides at-risk teenagers with financial assistance to continue their higher education in years 11 and 12 and assists families going through hardship with food parcels and community inclusion.

“I wouldn’t call myself a hero at all but it’s really nice to think someone else does,” Norm said.

Eliza Ponds Land Estate development director Brad Carey said they were “blown away” by the outstanding nominations and proud to see how many amazing volunteers support the local community.

According to the judging panel, finding a winner among all of the worthy entries was tough but one thing they agreed was the need to give a special mention to runner-up heroes, Ron and Marian Hetherington.

Bringing together all walks of life, the couple have been dedicated Mall Walking Leaders for almost 20 years for Cockburn Gateway’s Mall Walking Group, through the Heart Foundation Mall Walking Program, and at Garden City shopping centre through Council of the Ageing.

Marian and Ron Hetherington and fellow walking member Helen Scally.

Every Tuesday morning, the pair leads a hearty group of 20 regular and loyal walkers around the shopping centre and finish off with a stretch, coffee and a chat.

“It’s for health and social benefits too,” Ron said.

His sense of humour, extremely entertaining style of welcoming the Walk Group, technical perfection at stretches and boisterous manner creates a convivial atmosphere at Cockburn Gateway that is enjoyed by the walkers.

Recovering from heart surgery, Ron said he will be back pacing through the mall soon and is humbled to have received an award accolade.

As for Norm, he is not showing any signs of slowing down either and welcomes anyone to join his fleet of 30 volunteers.

When asked how he would spend his $3000 cash prize, Norm humbly said the money will go straight back into the Friends of the Community fund to help more people.