TOP CARERS: Recipients of NSW Carers Awards (left) Patricia Widdows, of Ballina, (right) Jann O’Connor, of Ballina, with Mrs Widdows’ daughter, Chrissy Melbourne, at a civic reception last week.
TOP CARERS: Recipients of NSW Carers Awards (left) Patricia Widdows, of Ballina, (right) Jann O’Connor, of Ballina, with Mrs Widdows’ daughter, Chrissy Melbourne, at a civic reception last week.

Local carers honoured

CARING for her mentally challenged son was not a chore, says Jann O'Connor.

The recipient of a NSW Senior Carer and Ambassador award was speaking at a civic reception at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery in Ballina to recognise just some of the carers in our community.

Jann, from Ballina, has been caring for her son for 32 years.

"You do what you have to do, you do what you need to do, you do what you love to do when you have a child who needs your care," she said.

Patricia Widdows accepted a NSW Carers Award for her and her husband Frank.

The Ballina couple has been caring for their daughter, Chrissy Melbourne, since 1979 after she was hit by a car while waiting for a taxi in Melbourne.

The gathering was told how Mr and Mrs Widdows gave up their jobs to look after their daughter, who suffered major brain injuries in the accident.

"It's been a long, hard struggle for them, and they never expected any thanks," daughter Terry Laurie said.

Meanwhile, Liam Cox, 8, was nominated for an award as he cares for his parents, who are both in wheelchairs.

"It's the half a dozen or a dozen things he does every day that makes things so much easier," proud dad Gordan said.


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