Margaret is our medallist

There’s no time for just sitting around for Eden’s Margaret Kirkwood.

Margaret is one of 12 Bega Valley residents to receive a Bega Valley Shire medallion from mayor Bill Taylor at a ceremony held at the Bega Country Club on Wednesday.

She was nominated for her tireless community volunteering in the Eden area over many years.

“I was very surprised to be nominated,” she said on Monday.

“I sort of tend to get involved (in volunteering), then it’s very hard to get uninvolved,” she said with a laugh.

“I do things because somebody needs something done and these days it’s difficult to get volunteers in the community, as the younger ones are so busy.

“I’ve just turned 80, and I’m one of the young ones!”

Mrs Kirkwood says being a volunteer was a natural progression.

After working and raising a family of three, she knew her retirement years would be just as busy.

Having recently enjoyed a five-week overseas adventure to celebrate her milestone birthday, she has returned refreshed and eager to pick up where she left off.

“I was sitting very quietly here hoping no one would notice me back, but I’ve been put back to work,” she joked.

Mrs Kirkwood has lived a very interesting life.

Originally from Sydney, 22 years of family life were spent in tropical north Queensland followed by 10 years of extreme cold in Nimmitabel after their children left home (husband, John, was keen on moving there as his mother had grown up in Nimmitabel).

The Kirkwoods then made the move to Eden 11 years ago.

“I loved Nimmity, but John hated every minute of it, not because of the cold as he didn’t feel the cold, but because he was a city boy.

“But Nimmitabel was where I began to get involved in volunteering and I loved it.”

In those days she joined the Nimmitabel CWA, Nimmitabel Garden Club and volunteered at a community gallery and cultural centre in Cooma.

Since then she has been a member of the CWA for more than 20 years having transferred from Nimmitabel to Eden CWA and is the immediate past-president and current treasurer of the Eden branch.  

She was also on the CWA executive in Sydney as a representative for the FSC group.

She is a member of the Pambula Hospital Auxiliary and secretary of the Merimbula Art Group, was a foundation member (and current treasurer) of the Eden Spinners and Weavers, Art on Imlay and Save Our Hospital Inc (also current secretary) and is an emergency volunteer at the Eden Visitor Information Centre.

“As an emergency at the visitor centre, it’s amazing how often I get asked to be there!

“But I don’t mind as it’s all for the community and I don’t have an excuse not to help – except that I get very busy and can’t fit everything in!

“It’s very easy, it’s not like work and when you are proud of where you live it’s not hard to talk to others about the town.”

With the new regional hospital construction well underway in Bega she believes there is a role for Pambula Hospital and that it should remain open.

“We need both hospitals, especially for patients at this end of the shire.

“There is a way in which they can both work with each other,” she said.

Margaret’s positive taka on life is infectious, especially when you see her smiling face come towards you with purpose as she walks Imlay Street.

 “It’s good for me to do so much…you’ve got to try new things otherwise you get bored.

“I could just sit in the chair in the sun by the window all day, but the longer you sit, the less likely you are to get up and do anything.”