Premier Ted Baillieu today named Patricia Hill from Sunbury the 2012 Victorian Senior of the Year at the Victorian Senior of the Year Awards at Government House in Melbourne.
Ms Hill was acknowledged for her work with young people battling drug addiction, along with 11 other Victorian seniors recognised for their contribution to the Victorian community with awards presented by Premier Ted Baillieu and Minister for Ageing David Davis.
“Patricia has worked tirelessly nights and weekends for many years, helping vulnerable young people struggling with a drug addiction,” Mr Baillieu said.
Patricia Hill, 68, established the Sunbury Surfer Bus, better known as ‘Pat’s Bus’, a mobile youth centre aimed at reducing alcohol and drug abuse by engaging young people and combatting boredom.
Ms Hill leads the Parent Drug Information and Support organisation in Sunbury, a self-help group she established for parents of children suffering from substance abuse. She also works with teachers, police and doctors in her fight against drugs.
“Motivated by the experience of drug addiction within her own family, Patricia has provided a lifeline for many at-risk teenagers in Victoria,” Mr Baillieu said.
Ms Hill has also supported senior ex-residents of Caloola, the former Sunbury Mental Hospital, housing them in her home and encouraging them to develop skills needed for life outside the institution.
Mr Baillieu said Patricia Hill was an inspiration to all Victorians.
“Patricia is an exceptional Victorian who has taken a difficult personal experience and turned it into a positive contribution to the community,” Mr Baillieu said.
“Patricia’s outstanding support of the Victorian community makes her a fitting winner for the Premier’s award.”
The Victorian Senior of the Year Awards were established more than 20 years ago to promote the achievements of senior Victorians, highlighting the benefits of healthy and active ageing.
“These awards celebrate Victorians aged 60 and over who make extraordinary contributions to the community through active involvement and by supporting and inspiring others,” Mr Baillieu said.
The awards lead into the 2012 Victorian Seniors Festival, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, offering more than 1,000 events throughout October.
Free public transport will be on offer from 7 to 14 October for Victorian Seniors Card holders so they can enjoy the festival.
For more information on the 2012 Victorian Seniors Festival and for a full list of award recipients, visit www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au