Margaret Hayes proudly displays her Rotary award, the result of good deeds at home and around the world.
Margaret Hayes proudly displays her Rotary award, the result of good deeds at home and around the world. John Gass

Margaret honoured for generosity

KINGSLIFF'S human dynamo Margaret Hayes has been awarded Rotary International's highest honour, a Service Above Self Award, for exemplary humanitarian service.

One of just 150 recipients worldwide, a surprised Margaret was presented with her award by Rotary International president Ray Klinginsmith during a district conference in Yamba last weekend.

Her fellow Rotarians and thousands of people in Australia, India, Nigeria and Papua New Guinea, who have benefited through her remarkable deeds, had no doubts about Margaret being a worthy recipient.

Margaret's husband Tony joined Rotary in 1982, but as women were precluded from membership until 1989, Margaret became heavily involved as what is termed “an active partner”.

She worked diligently on a number of Rotary programs such as Youth Exchange and the Youth Program of Enrichment.

She joined Kingscliff Rotary in 1994 and linked with Tweed Heads South branch in 2003.

Over the years since becoming a fully-fledged member of the former “boys-only” movement, she has, like those Diggers in the battlefield trenches, performed deeds “above and beyond the call of duty”.

Margaret has organised and participated in polio immunisation campaigns in Nigeria and India, helped build schools in Tanzania and a special school for adult women in Port Moresby.

Neither rain, nor hail, nor hot sun, nor arduous journey has hindered this remarkable lady in the pursuit of helping her fellow man.

“There were 18 of us on our trip to India last year and that polio immunisation task involved a nearly eight-hour bus trip over rough ground from Hyderabad and then a long motorboat ride on a lake so we could get into very isolated communities,” Margaret said.

“It was very arduous for all of us but it had to be done.”

The adult women's school at Koki Markets in Port Moresby was the result of a promise made to a friend dying of cancer. “She just asked me to build a school for women in a third world country, so with the aid of Dame Carol Kidu, an Australian-born teacher who is now a member of the PNG parliament, we did.”

The list of Margaret Hayes' achievements outside Rotary includes being a founding member of Tweed District Kindergarten, Murwillumbah View Club and Murwillumbah Riding for the Disabled. Margaret is a board member of Wommin Bay Hostel, has a passion for gardening and the beach and her seven grandchildren.

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