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There goes our hero

Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018

By By Emily Roberts

Local Josephine Peter will be heading to Coolamon tomorrow to represent Broken Hill as an Australia Day Ambassador.

The 2017 NSW Local Hero was asked to be an ambassador in this year’s Australia Day ceremony.

Mrs Peter was very humble when speaking about the honour yesterday.

“I don’t really like that title ‘Local Hero’, I’ve never done anything heroic,” she said.

“They just told me that they needed a title for such a wide range of people.

“I think I was a bit different because I was recognised for my volunteering.

“So that’s the title I’ve got.”

Mrs Peter said she had a few choices of where to go.

“I wanted to go up north, but the problem was transport. 

“I would have had to hire a car and drive out of Sydney. I haven’t been north of Sydney in a long time.

“Then the organisers asked if I would like to go to Coolamon near Wagga Wagga.

“I said ‘That sounds wonderful’.

“It’s a country area and I love the country areas.

“I haven’t been to Coolamon so it will be a nice experience.”

Mrs Peter, was one of four people in NSW shortlisted for the Local Hero award.

She was shocked to receive the prestigious award from Premier Mike Baird at a ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in November 2016.

“I find it quite overwhelming,” she told the BDT after accepting the award.

“I never dreamt, never ever dreamt that I’d get any further then just being nominated.

“I do feel embarrassed to a certain degree because I know there’s a lot of people back in Broken Hill that do a lot of things.”

Her lifelong commitment to worthy causes, particularly those that benefit the less fortunate and children, began during the Second World War when she knitted socks for soldiers. And she hasn’t stopped since.

A regular on parents’ committees and arts societies, Mrs Peter has sat on the board of the Robinson College for over 25 years, seven years as president, and was a volunteer tutor for more than a decade.

She’s been a telephone counsellor, coordinated almost two dozen debutante balls and has supported the VIEW Club and Smith Family for some 27 years.

The mother of three has also driven thousands of kilometres in car rallies to raise funds for kidney health and to build a children’s cemetery.

“I only do it because I love helping other people ... especially people not doing too well,” she said.

Mrs Peter and a friend will fly out of Broken Hill tomorrow bound for Wagga Wagga where the Coolamon Mayor and his wife will pick them up.

“We’re staying in a delightful B and B, it looks really lovely.

“Then we will go to a reception dinner on Thursday night with dignitaries and then I will speak at the service on Friday morning.

“I’m just in the middle of refining my speech at the moment.

“I was away for a month and was home late on Sunday, I will be at the hospital kiosk all day (today) - so the pressure is on.

“I will just speak about my experiences volunteering, who I am and how I came to be.

“I’m sure there will be a nice little bit about Broken Hill in there as well.”

Mrs Peter said she was honoured to be included in this ceremony.

“It’s a thrill and an honour to be invited. I’m very excited about it.”

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