IT’S difficult to know the direction your life his headed when you’re only 19, but Marmion resident Malcolm Dempsey knew he wanted to help people.
He led his first fundraiser that year – a flood relief push for farmers in the eastern states, which he held in the Mollerin Hall in the Wheatbelt in the 50s.
It began a commitment to charity work that Mr Dempsey continues at age 82.
He estimates he has helped to raise about $800,000 for a host of causes over more than 60 years.
Mr Dempsey made the Queen’s Birthday Honours List as a Medal of the Order of Australia recipient for his significant contribution to communities in WA.
Mr Dempsey was “stunned” by the acknowledgement. He said it was the enjoyment of working with people and “seeing things do well” that motivated him.
The octogenarian was further recognised for his strong hand in WA lawn bowls as well as his senior membership in organisations such as the Farmers Union of Australia, where he was vice-president in 1982, and the Freemasons, which he served as Master Mason for four terms.
Mr Dempsey was particularly proud of his efforts in lawn bowls. He began with the Beacon Bowls Club in the ’70s through to 45 years at North Beach Bowling Club and four decades at the Master Builders WA Bowling Club.
He spent long stints as president of both clubs.
He is the only non-builder in the Master Builders Association’s 113-year history to be named in its Hall of Fame.
“Every Master Builders Assocation in Australia has a bowls club and WA’s is one of the strongest, numbers wise,” he said.
Among his charity drives was a fundraiser for the families of two police officers who were involved in a horrific incident on Mandurah Road.
One was injured and the other killed.
“One of their brothers was in our bowls club and they didn’t get any compo in those days so we organised a show for them,” he said.
Other deeds included a fundraiser for air conditioners at Fremantle Children’s Hospital, contributions to the Kidney Foundation and funding for research into asbestos-related illnesses.
He was heavily involved in charity work with the Freemasons as a member from 1963 to 2015.
“I believe if you’re going to go there just to have fun and not do something for somebody else then there’s no point being in it,” he said.
But he emphasised his success as a family man was his greatest achievement.
“I’ve got a lovely family and a great wife, 13 grandkids and seven great grand kids so that’s the highlight,” he said.