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Sunday, January 17, 2021

A year in review: December 2020

It hasn’t been long since these stories were published, but we wanted to wrap up our year in review series on a more positive note.

Here are some of our highlights from December.

Selfless Maitland police officers praised

A simple act of kindness, after such a challenging year, really can make a difference.

Senior Constables Jenna Stedman and Steve Drane proved exactly that in late 2020, when they selflessly went above and beyond their duties to help a local in need.

Ilona Griggs’ husband of 52 years, Daniel, was receiving treatment at the Calvary Mater Hospital in Newcastle for stage 4 brain cancer when she received a call to say that he had just half an hour to live.

Unfortunately, Mrs Griggs does not drive and, in desperation, she phoned Maitland Police Station to ask for assistance.

Within minutes, Senior Constables Stedman and Drane were at Mrs Griggs’ home to convey her to the Calvary Mater Hospital post haste.

They then accompanied her all the way to her husband’s bedside.

Read the full story here.

Maitland men’s shed working for community

A substantial state government grant could prove to be a game-changer for the Maitland Community Men’s Shed.

One of the most impressive facilities of its kind in NSW, the Jubilee Street premises boasts a garden; workshop; outdoor barbecue area; two morning tea rooms; woodwork, steelwork and computer/IT sections; boardroom, games room and much more.

Now, courtesy of the 2020 Community Building Partnership Program, the members have received $64,261 for the purchase and installation of a new wheelchair-accessible lift.

Click here to see the full article.

The Longest Day tees off to raise funds for cancer research

With some in-person events back on the books by late 2020, The Longest Day challenged golfers to four consecutive rounds, or 72 holes.

The day tested the skill, strength and stamina of even the most hardened golfer, from dawn to dusk.

Funds raised from the event enabled Cancer Council NSW to conduct life-saving research, deliver prevention campaigns, and support people as they navigate through their cancer journey.

Check out the full story online.

The Longest Day
Cancer Council NSW’s Hunter Central Coast Community Relations Coordinator, Gemma Pedri, with Waratah Golf Club general manager Jono Towns. Photo: Peter Stoop

Volunteer award a Silver lining for Graeme

The year wrapped up with a nice token of appreciation for NSW SES City of Newcastle deputy unit commander, Graeme Silver.

The humble, but worthy, winner of the 2020 Newcastle Volunteer Service Award has spent over four decades helping people across the Hunter through many incidents and emergencies.

The 1989 Newcastle earthquake, 2007 Pasha Bulker storm, and 2015 flood event are just some of the major disasters Graeme helped locals recover from.

He also currently holds the position of deputy local controller for the NSW Ambulance, and continues to serve the residents of the Hunter with selfless dedication and genuine heroism.

“I’m truly honoured to receive this,” Mr Silver said.

“Any nominee would have been deserving of [winning] it.”

Read more here.

There’s no place like home: Hi-5 star stays connected to her roots

December also had some major highlights for the Newcastle Weekly team.

Nearing the end of 2020, we were lucky enough to chat with children’s television royalty, Charli Robinson.

Playing in the Anna Bay sand dunes as a child, Charli had no idea her life would lead to where she is now.

Performing was Charli’s passion and, when she was just 17 years old, she landed a role with a Hi-5.

And, even though she is incredibly busy, Charli always finds time to come home to her favourite place in the world, which she once took for granted.

“No matter where I’ve gone in the world or where I have lived it’s just like coming home, there is nothing that beats here, this feeling,” she said.

See the full story, including Charli’s plans for the future, click here.

Spreading Christmas cheer after a tough year

As the Hunter prepared for Christmas, so too did local charities like the Eastlakes Salvation Army.

The Lake Macquarie organisation hoped to alleviate some of the stresses of the festive period, which, even in so-called ‘normal’ times, continued pose an enormous financial challenge for families.

In December 2020, the charity donated toys to children in need and special Christmas hampers to families suffering from food poverty.

Click here to read the full article.

Eastlakes Salvation Army
Eastlakes Corps Auxiliary Lieutenant, Pastor Terri Muendel, with some of the donated toys at the branch’s headquarters in Belmont North. Photo: Peter Stoop