Volunteers rewarded for ensuring fishing is accessible for all

The fantastic team of volunteers at Fishability spend their time improving land-based fishing access and inclusion for people with disabilities across WA.

At the recent Fishability awards night, held at the AQWA, their efforts were commended by Minister Dave Kelly who awarded volunteers and congratulated them on their commitment to ensuring that everybody has the right to experience fishing.

Recfishwest staff were proud to attend the awards night, offering our congratulations to award recipients as well as volunteers, staff and sponsors who commit their time to ensure fishing is accessible for all and who make the Fishability program possible.

2019 Award recipients:

Chairman’s Award – Earlybird Bait

Fishability volunteers spend their time improving land-based fishing access and inclusion for people with disabilities across WA.

The Chairman’s Award was awarded to Earlybird Bait who was recognised for its contribution to Fishability  through the  supply of bait to the Mandurah program over the last seven years. Every six weeks, members from the Mandurah team collect 20 packs of squid and 20 packs of prawn from Earlybird Bait and it is this generosity and focus on community service that is the reason Fishability believe Earlybird Bait is worthy recipients of the Chairman’s Award.

Patron’s Unsung Hero Award – Terry Morey and Graham Welsh from Mandurah

This year’s Patron’s Unsung Hero Award was proudly presented to two worthy recipients.

The first was Terry Morey who was recognised for his contribution to the Fishability Mandurah program over the last four years.  Terry first became involved in the Fishability program as a participant with his support-worker, however, after a short period, Terry asked Dee Castillo, Coordinator of the Fishability Mandurah program if he could be a volunteer instead of a participant.  Dee did not hesitate in agreeing. Terry is happy to perform any job that is asked of him and over the last two years, he has taken on the role as the official photographer and social media coordinator, ensuring every person has media consent – he does an excellent job.  Participants and support-workers look out for him every week.  Terry was the first person to be involved in the School Aged Children’s Program and the teachers look for him for assistance.

Executive Officer Di Bruce, Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly and member for Joondalup Emily Louise Hamilton at the Fishability Awards Night.

“Terry’s contribution to Fishability is outstanding and he thoroughly deserves this award,” says Di Bruce, Fishability Executive Officer.

Equally, the second recipient of the Patrons Unsung Hero Award is Graham Welsh.

This award recognises Graham for his contribution to the Fishability Mandurah program. Since joining in 2014, his input and impact has been outstanding. Graham always attends the activities, rain, hail or shine, bringing the trailer down to wherever the program location is. Graham is always thinking about how to better the Fishability program, how to improve the lay-out of the trailer with its full capacity and how to ensure all the participants have an enjoyable and memorable experience.  He recently made a special stand for an electric rod out of bits and pieces he had lying around for one of the Fishability participants so it was easier for them to fish. Graham is a deserving recipient of the Patrons Unsung Hero Award for his dedication, professionalism and passion for Fishability.

2019 Nev Thomas Award – Michelle Lee from Busselton 

Busselton local Michelle Lee received Fishability’s 2019 prestigious Nev Thomas Award, honouring her commitment to ensuring that everybody has the right to experience fishing.

Years ago, Michelle recognised the gap in recreational activities for children with disabilities in Busselton and the South West.  Michelle, a passionate angler, decided to start Fish Girl Fishing Families, reaching out to over 400 families of children living with disabilities. The weekly activity was solely funded and supported by Michelle with the help of local businesses. Fishability approached Michelle in 2015 after hearing of her program and offered support. The partnership forged has created a phenomenal program delivering recreational fishing opportunities to hundreds of children and adults requiring support in this region.  Michelle is now the Coordinator of the Fishability Busselton program, showing so much empathy and respect to all participants.  All participants love coming to The Deck and Geographe Bay Marina to see Michelle and her team, and have expressed that they cope better both mentally and physically as a result of their participation with the Fishability community.  Michelle is always willing to help others, always with a smile on her face and laughter in her voice. Congratulations Michelle and the Busselton Fishability team.

Read more in Busselton Mail here.

Busselton local Michelle Lee was awarded the 2019 Nev Thomas Award.
Well done to all award recipients.

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