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About the award

NSW Health considers its volunteers to be valuable members of the workforce, essential to the delivery of public health services across NSW. Their tireless and enormous effort directly supports and delivers better outcomes for patients, their families and carers, staff and visitors. The Volunteer of the Year Award recognises the significant contribution of an individual to volunteering within NSW Health.

This award acknowledges a volunteer who:

  • provides excellent support for patients, carers and families
  • acts as a role model for volunteering in NSW Health helping to promote volunteer services and inspire other volunteers
  • has used their voice and valued experience as a consumer to contribute towards health system change
  • uses new and innovative ways to engage patients, carers and families.

Winner – Syd Dudley

Murrumbidgee Local Health District


Syd Dudley is a prominent and highly regarded member of the Finley community. Over many decades, Syd has been a tireless champion across many voluntary and health advocacy roles.

As Chair of Finley Local Health Advisory Committee (LHAC), Syd has led and contributed to creating a unique integrated healthcare model for his region. The place based model incorporates primary care, three levels of aged care and Finley hospital and health services. These are all connected through pathways of care.

Syd is dynamic character committed to the welfare of his community, and invites and values contribution of all people. He played a vital role in facilitating community consultation and providing feedback on the Clinical Services Planning and Hospital Redevelopment.

Syd contributes in all sectors of the community. He has held positions with the Finley Regional Care Board, Finley Chamber of Commerce and the Berrigan Shire Council Australia Day Awards.

Syd led a team that attracted Medical Officers to their town and helped them transition into the local community. As a result, the team of doctors have been settled for over a decade and contribute to the medical leadership of the District and Primary Health Network.

Syd is at the hospital on day one for new employees. He is the first to meet and greet new staff and make them feel welcomed, at home and part of the community. He goes out of his way to provide a safe, nurturing and inclusive environment for all.

Finalist – Max Heslehurst

Mid North Coast Local Health District


For the past 14 years, Max Heslehurst has supported patients and their families through their cardiac health journey. He has provided outstanding support to patients, carers and their families during their most vulnerable times.

Max inspires others by sitting and talking with patients and their families. He provides and explains written information together with the Port Macquarie Base Hospital Cardiology Team.

Max initiated and promoted the local walking groups on the Mid North Coast. He also dedicated his time to source and build an outdoor gym centre in the hospital courtyard and for a walking track behind the hospital to promote cardiac health.

Max fundraised for furniture in the Cardiology Family Room and assisted in sourcing recliners for patients in the Cardiac Cath Laboratory recovery area. This aided in patient flow within the unit and reduced procedural delays creating a safe environment for nurses to complete the next stage of care during the discharge process.

Max who is 88, recently retired and has worked closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals over the years. He has provided information about the volunteer group and the services they provide to help patients and their families have better health outcomes.

Max was nominated as volunteer of the year to express the gratitude of the Cardiology Team, and the legacy of the Heart Health Inc NSW Support group, which continues today.

Honourable Mention – Georgie Wilton

HealthShare NSW


Georgie is a long-term resident at Culcairn Multipurpose Service (MPS), where she volunteers as part of the HealthShare NSW Food and Patient Support Services team.

Georgie, who has Down Syndrome, proudly wears her HealthShare NSW uniform and helps patients and staff in any way she can. Every day, she offers her support to patients and their caregivers, and models what it means to be a volunteer. She goes the extra mile without expecting anything in return, solely motivated by a desire to help others. Her unique perspective as a resident and volunteer has a lasting effect on all who meet her.

Georgie is not only an inspiration to those she lives with and to staff at Culcairn MPS, but an inspiration to the leadership team and the entire organisation of HealthShare NSW. She embodies the organisation’s commitment to growing a strong team culture. She fully embraces the NSW Health CORE values in all her actions.

“Georgie is a valued member of our team, helping out in all aspects… Georgie is a very caring person. If there is a staff meeting or a member of staff leaving, she likes to say a speech… every game of bingo she wins, she gives her chocolate away to someone who didn’t win a game so no one misses out.”

Current as at: Tuesday 24 October 2023
Contact page owner: NSW Health