Ipswich Turf Club committee member Denise Hanly was recognised with Australia Day honours and awarded an Order of Australia Medal last week.
Denise was the first female in the club’s 160-year history to be voted onto the committee and her appointment made history.
She is one of Ipswich’s most loyal volunteers having given back to the community since the 1980s.
Her love for volunteering started when working with Telecom and through her involvement in youth employment and training programs. From there she managed touch football teams, joined the Red Cross, Ipswich Hospice and volunteered at the Red Cross Kiosk on Saturday afternoons.
Whether it is making sandwiches for the local school tuckshop where her grandchildren attend or as the assistant governor for the Ipswich City Rotary Club, Denise takes every role in her stride.
During the 2011 floods, teaming up with the Red Cross volunteers, Denise worked tirelessly for 16 days straight from dawn till dusk at the evacuation centre. It is the small things that make her continue to volunteer – in this case, ensuring every person had soap and toothpaste when seeking shelter at the centre and then something to take home once given the all clear.
She’s volunteered with the local area committee of CrimeStoppers for over 20 years, been a volunteer with the Ipswich Show Society since the late 80s and helps at Willowbank Raceway.
Denise has a love of racing whether it’s drag racing, greyhounds or horse racing.
“I felt it was quite a privilege to be the first female on the club’s committee,” she said.
“I have been a member since the mid-90s and am really looking forward to seeing the venue evolve.”
“I don’t see volunteering as hard work but rather something that has enhanced my life and kept me active.
“It’s my family, friends, those I have worked with or volunteered with that have enriched my life.”
Clubs such as Ipswich rely heavily on volunteers and last week’s honours were a way to acknowledge those valued contributions. Fellow Queensland racing identities Neville Bell and John McCoy joined Denise in being recognised with them also awarded an Order of Australia Medal.
The Queenslanders were acknowledged for their service to the racing industry and respective communities over a number of years.
Bell has been the Brisbane Racing Club Chairman since 2012 and was an original member of the board when the Queensland Turf Club and Brisbane Turf Club merged in 2008.
McCoy has been the voice of Queensland sport for more than half a century, and for the past 16 years has been heard on Radio TAB’s Breakfast Show with co-hosts Peter Psaltis and Paul Sawtell.
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