CELEBRATED LOCAL: Ballina’s Woman of the Year, Margaret Paul.
CELEBRATED LOCAL: Ballina’s Woman of the Year, Margaret Paul. Andy Parks

War widow recognised for her years of volunteering

"ALTHOUGH people who volunteer never seek recognition, it's nice when you can give it to them."

This was Ballina MP Don Page's opening line when announcing Margaret Paul as the Ballina electorate Woman of the Year.

Margaret was a founding member of the Ballina Laurel Club in 1975 and has been with them ever since.

The Laurel Club is a social club for widows of war veterans that also raises money to support the work of Legacy.

"When my husband died, my youngest was still a baby and Legacy was so good to me then. I want to thank them for everything," Margaret said.

Mr Page said Ballina had the highest number of ex-servicemen outside of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, and the role of Legacy and the Laurel Club affected the lives of many people.

"The people of this town owe you a great deal of gratitude," he told Margaret.

After initially serving as vice-president for three years and then president for two, Margaret has been the secretary ever since.

"Margaret says her involvement in the Laurel Club has given her many years of friendship and moral support, but I know that she, in turn, has provided that for other Legacy widows," Mr Page said.

As well as 40 years with the Laurel Club, Margaret has also been volunteering with the Ballina Hospital Auxiliary for 40 years, and was a member of the CWA for many years.

Margaret will be flown to Sydney on March 4 where the NSW Woman of the Year Awards will be presented by Premier Mike Baird.


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