Making difference for RFDS

Michael TraillNarrogin Observer
Ann McLeish and Gary Griffiths.
Camera IconAnn McLeish and Gary Griffiths. Credit: Picture: RFDS, RFDS.

Ann McLeish and Gary Griffiths have spent more than a decade making a world of difference to regional communities, raising $166,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Since 2008, the Narrogin couple have dedicated their retirement to fundraising for the RFDS, ensuring a “mantle of safety” for those living, working and travelling across the State.

Ms McLeish said supporting the RFDS was a family effort, with her husband and daughter clocking hundreds of thousands of kilometres collectively as they pick up and drop off donation tins at Lake King, Mt Barker, Brookton, Albany and Esperance.

“I’m the navigator and Gary’s the driver,” she said.

“We’re always on the road doing our bit for the flying doctor; rattling tins at the speedway, football games, netball games, quiz nights and I also represent the RFDS at fundraising events or raffles.”

Ms McLeish, a 2011 Spirit of the West Award recipient, is a regular fixture at rural community events across the Great Southern, Wheatbelt and Esperance regions.

She raised $5145 at this year’s Wagin Woolorama.

She said a particular highlight was having people from all walks of life stop by to share their flying doctor stories with her, with one friend even passing her a jar which was jam-packed with coins he had saved over the year.

“Just in my family alone, my brother, my son and my granddaughter have had to use the RFDS,” Ms McLeish said.

“Narrogin residents and people living out in rural and remote communities rely heavily on the flying doctor to access the health care we need.

“The community support and gratitude for the flying doctor has been overwhelming and I’m very proud to represent such an important service.”

RFDS Western Operations chief executive Rebecca Tomkinson said National Volunteer Week was a great opportunity to showcase the stories of people who are the passion behind the service.

“At the Royal Flying Doctor Service, we know first-hand the enormous impact volunteers like Ann and Gary have in creating change and outcomes in our communities,” she said.

“We are proud to have local ambassadors like them. They are truly priceless and the value of their efforts, passion and commitment to volunteering can’t be underestimated. I’m sure they inspire everyone they meet.”

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