Rail volunteer steams away with youth award

Event Assist chairman Terry Cockerham with award winner Matthew Willis.
Event Assist chairman Terry Cockerham with award winner Matthew Willis.

Now working in Perth, the 19-year old still travels to Pinjarra most weekends to work on the railway and his dedication won the 19-year old the 2013 Peel Youth Volunteer of the Year Award.

Matthew has been a volunteer since 2007 at the Pinjarra and Dwellingup yards, where he helped with the maintenance of rolling stock, locomotives and track work.

Last steam season he spent time on the steam trains operating out of Dwellingup and is now in training to become a fireman and driver.

Matthew’s workmates describe him as not only conscientious, capable and trustworthy but very affable and friendly.

Award sponsor Event Assist Inc chairman Terry Cockerham said it was due to young volunteers like Matthew that the railway survived.

The non-profit group is an all-volunteer training provider and event producer.

‘It’s unusual we would become an award sponsor as that is the domain of the private sector, but being on the front line of volunteering in regional WA, we know the importance of attracting young people to become involved and acknowledging their contribution,’ Mr Cockerham said.