Retired volunteer crowned State Senior of the Year

Former Meals on Wheels volunteer, Norma Walsh has been crowned WA Senior of the Year (Metro).

Now 93 years old, Norma reflects on her 15 years spent preparing meals, as well as morning and afternoon tea at her beloved Kalamunda service.

“I was a Grade 1, 2 and 3 teacher and when I retired in the late 70s, I decided to volunteer for Meals on Wheels. My late husband, who was also a school teacher, was delivering meals and so he, as well as other friends, inspired me to do it.”

“I love to get out there and help,” she explains.

Norma says the service not only offered meals delivered to the home, but the opportunity for isolated customers to attend the service and enjoy their meal, cups of tea and sandwiches in the company of others.

“I made lots of lovely friends and it gave me joy to see older people waiting for me to come and bring their meals.”

“I look back on my time volunteering for Meals on Wheels with great happiness.”

“What surprised me when I began is how efficient the organisation worked – from the eskies and tiffins (delivery trays), right down to delivery.”

She says even now, she still catches up with the people who she volunteered with.

“Meals on Wheels is invaluable. If you are not well and you can’t cook for yourself, you know someone is there to check you are well…those people who visit become friends.”

Norma says she was humbled to be named the state’s Senior of the Year for the metropolitan area.

“I never expected that for a minute. I was absolutely honoured. When we went to Anzac House to receive the award I was overwhelmed because the recipient of the WA Senior of the Year Regional Award, James (Jim) Freeman, is my friend!” she explains.

“It was wonderful to see him again after walking the Bibbulmun Track with him in 1989.”

Seniors and Ageing Minister the Hon Don Punch MLA said Norma’s long service to Meals on Wheels, as well as her love of her local environment and history, make her a deserving winner.

Busy as ever at 93, Norma now spends her time volunteering at the Kalamunda History Village and enjoying the company of her four children who all live close by.

“If I am not well I just phone and they are here like a rocket.”

“I’ve had a lot of holidays overseas and caravanned with my husband. As Albert Facey said, I’ve had a fortunate life. I count my blessings. I am very lucky.”

“Life is for living. Even though you’re old you’ve still got to live.”

PHOTO: Norma Walsh (pictured far right) with State Manager, Rhonda Parker