Hunter’s Top Volunteers Recognised at 2021 Awards

Kevin Stokes has volunteered at the Gardens for 36 years.

Hunter Region Botanic Gardens Founder Kevin Stokes has been named the Hunter’s Volunteer of the Year at this year’s NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.

The Toronto local has been sharing his expertise and love of Australian native plants with the community for 36 years, and has helped the Gardens overcome financial difficulties, devastating drought and Covid-19 restrictions.

Hayley Johns from Bolwarra Heights has been named the region’s Young Volunteer of the Year, for her time spent volunteering with the National Rural Student network and St Johns Ambulance Maitland.

Hayley is also Maitland’s Youth Ambassador, a Justice of the Peace and previously volunteered for the SES and as part of the Lake Macquarie Youth Advisory Committee.

Hayley Johns is this year’s Young Volunteer of the Year.

Adult Volunteer of the Year Leanne Pitt-Barile from Black Hill has been recognised for her work with Share The Dignity, which she oversees as the NSW Team Leader.

Leanne Pitt-Barile (right) is the NSW Team Leader for Share The Dignity.

Each year, Leanne coordinates the campaign drives and events which provide personal health care products to women and children experiencing homelessness, domestic violence or financial hardship.

The awards aren’t all about individuals, with Lake Macquarie’s LEGO Therapy Volunteer Team claiming this year’s Volunteer Team of the Year.

The group’s members support children with a developmental delay or disability, working with the Cerebal Palsy Alliance to help them navigate teamwork, social skills and activities through the use of LEGO.

Lake Mac’s LEGO Therapy Team took out Volunteer Team of the Year.


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