Margaret Jopling has been rewarded for her tireless volunteer work in the Kempsey Shire with a prestigious honour - a medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the community of Kempsey.
Margaret has volunteered at a number of volunteer groups in the local community for over 20 years, including Kempsey PCYC, Kempsey Swimming Club, Macleay River Historical Society and Kempsey Macleay University of the Third Age.
Margaret was born in Kempsey and spent her early years in Sydney before her family relocated back to the Macleay when she was seven.
She said it was because of her family's history that she became passionate about swimming.
"My family come from seamen and were always around the ocean, so I learnt to swim from a very young age," Margaret said.
Margaret has been a member of the Kempsey Swimming Club since 1947 and a life member since 1968.
"I got involved in the swimming club because I had a passion for swimming and have continued to love it and enjoy helping others learn to swim."
Over the years Margaret has taught swimming classes for children and adults and currently she teaches the under eight Junior Dolphins. She also still competes in swimming carnivals with the Port Macquarie Masters Swimming Club.
Although Margaret has been involved in the Kempsey Swimming Club for many years, she said all of her other volunteer work started once she retired.
This is something very specialMargaret Jopling
"I've been involved in many volunteer groups since I stopped working around 20 years ago," she said.
Margaret worked as a legal secretary and at Telstra for most of her working life before working at Booroongen Djugun.
After her retirement, she found the time to volunteer for a number of groups in the community.
She joined Kempsey Macleay University of the Third Age in 2006 where she was vice president from 2014-2015 and was the class leader for exercise and a walking group. She also takes classes including gardening, crosswords, literature and French.
Margaret also volunteers at Kemspey PCYC at reception, she runs a yoga class and table tennis group at the club and helps on Friday nights when PCYC put on a fun night for the kids.
Margaret volunteers at Macleay River Historical Society every Sunday and organises the rosters for the museum.
Over the years she has also tutored high school students in maths and other subjects.
Margaret received Kempsey Citizen of the Year in 2007 and she said the honour of receiving an OAM is a nice surprise.
"This is something very special," she said.
"I feel like Kempsey gets some bad comments but I don't think it deserves it, there is a lot of good in the community.
"Groups in the community can make new people feel welcome and that's something I've always tried to do through my volunteer work."
Margaret will receive her OAM for service to the community of Kempsey in September at Government House.
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