HEROES of 2015
Northern Beaches Writers' Group
In March, we praised the Northern Beaches Writers' Group, when 14 of their writers raised more than $4,000 for The Kids' Cancer Project by selling two of their award winning books.
The authors competed in the “Write-book-in-a-day’ contest in 2013 and 2014 and won the National Best Book Award in both years. Those two books - Scribbles in the Dark and A Dolphin for Nala - are being sold at numerous book stores on the peninsula and all proceeds go to the charity, which leads the way in childhood cancer research.
The emergence of the game-changing free mobile app Wildlife Witness was one of the stories of the year, and we reported on it in our April edition of Peninsula Living. The app allows travellers to report wildlife abuse they witness across the globe, in the hope of, as Taronga Zoo states, "Helping us all to spill the secrets of wildlife trade criminals and reduce the threat of illegal trade and the future of our wildlife."
Narrabeen local Lisa Keen, who works with Taronga Conservation Society Australia says it is incredibly exciting.
"Sydneysiders, in particular Northern Beaches locals, are such great travellers... So with wildlife in such peril, I'm sure they'll want to help in any way they can and this app is a safe way to do that," Ms Keen told us last year.
Dr Howard Ralph
In our January magazine we highlighted the work of peninsula local Dr Howard Ralph, who has been quietly saving countless animals from tragic endings for many years.
Dr Ralph graduated from veterinary medicine in 1971 and later qualified as a doctor in 1979, he ran his own general veterinary practice for three decades before turning his attention full time to saving Australia's wildlife.
With October being breast cancer awareness month, we talked to an inspiring group of ladies called the Pittwater Pinks. The 'Pinks' is an active and inclusive group of breast cancer survivors, who spend most weekends rowing their dragonboat from Rowlands Reserve in Bayview around Pittwater.
The group improves the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of survivors and helps local survivors to connect.
In our July edition, to coincide with Superhero Week at Bear Cottage, we paid homage to all those that make the hospice the pride of the Northern Beaches.
Established in 2012, Superhero Week raises awareness of the work Bear Cottage does for terminally-ill children and their families, while also raising much needed funds.
Bronwen Simmons from Bear Cottage, told Peninsula Living at the time, that everyone associated with the hospice fits the superhero bill.
"At Bear Cottage, we come across superheroes every day - the nurses and volunteers who provide outstanding care and immeasurable comfort, the families who keep finding strength in the face of adversity, and our brave patients, for whom every day is a battle against the odds."
In August, we commended Chris Roe, his family and the rest of the Sydney Bikes4Life team for the important work they're doing. He had recently purchased a warehouse in Brookvale, where they house unwanted bikes before they can be shipped to remote and underprivileged countries like East Timor, Kenya, Papua New Guinea and Uganda, where bikes can be a lifesaving resource. Chris was inspired by Bikes4Life founder Ebony Butler, and seeing as there wasn't yet a Sydney chapter, he put his hand up.
Wrap with Love
In the September edition of Peninsula Living, we talked to Jane Goodes and Frenchs Forest local Lorraine Sutton about Wrap with Love - a volunteer organisation that provides home-sewn rugs and blankets for the underprivileged in Australia and around the world.
The two women have continued on the great work of founder Sonia Gidley-King, and have now taken the movement to hospital waiting rooms.
"So when women come in, they can pick up the knitting needles because they're a little uptight... and then leave it there for the next person to pick up where they left off," Ms Sutton told us last year.
Melanie Thomas and Anona Le Page
Just two months ago, we tackled the issue of domestic violence (DV) and its presence on the peninsula. KYUP! Proiect founder Melanie Thomas told us about her personal experience with DV and about the free self defence and empowerment workshops she was running in Manly. She teamed up with Manly Community Centre domestic violence worker Mona Le Page, and the two women have been busy raising awareness locally.
Ms Thomas's workshops in November were a huge success with packed sessions, and Layne Beachley in attendance.
Lynette Johnson and Bev Bingham
Christmas can be a lonely time for those without family and friends to share it with, so our December issue included a feature on the heroes behind a free community Christmas lunch run out of St John's Anglican Parish in Dee Why. Organisers Lynette Johnson and Bev Bingham have given up their own festive season family time for the last six years to provide an inclusive place where people can meet, greet and enjoy a lunch with all the trimmings.
"Well it's now at a point where we get our turn with the grandchildren every six years, but when they come they know they can't see Grandma until after 4pm...our family knows how important this is," Ms Johnson candidly told Peninsula Living before Christmas.
Special mention to Harry from Aces Chickens in Dee Why and Ron the butcher and his family for their selfless support of the cause.