21 June, 2021
Betty Denning awarded Medal of the Order of Australia
Pittsworth’s Betty Denning has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her service to the community of Pittsworth.
The Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List recognises 1,190 Australians and 947 of those are recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia, one of which is Betty Denning OAM.
The Order of Australia, which has four levels of award, recognises Australians who have demonstrated exceptional achievements or outstanding service to the community.
Mrs Denning, who was born in Pittsworth and has lived in the town her whole life, is a very worthy recipient of the award, having served the Pittsworth community in various volunteer roles for over 70 years.
These roles have been diverse, from volunteering in community health facilities and sporting clubs to other miscellaneous community groups and organisations.
More specifically, Mrs Denning has been a member of the Pittsworth Show Society since 1949, becoming a Steward in the show’s Horticultural Section in 1984, a Life Member in 1986 and then a Patron in 2015.
She has volunteered with the Beauaraba Living Auxiliary since 1989, was a member of the Pittsworth Hospital Ladies Auxiliary from 1978 until mid-2010, and formerly volunteered at the Pittsworth Ambulance and Meals on Wheels.
But her volunteering roles and activities do not stop there.
Mrs Denning has been involved with the Pittsworth Polocrosse Association, was a volunteer at the Kurrajong Pony Club for 10 years and previously volunteered at, and catered for, the Pittsworth Basketball Association.
She has also been a member of the Pittsworth RSL Sub-Branch Ladies Auxiliary for over 60 years and formerly volunteered at both the Pittsworth State Primary School and Pittsworth State High School tuckshops, as well as the local Op Shop.
Betty Denning volunteers at the local Uniting Church and was previously a member of the Pittsworth Historical Society.
Having been so extensively involved in the Pittsworth community for over seven decades, it is clear Mrs Denning is a very worthy recipient of this award.
However, when she first found out about it back in March via a letter from the Governor-General, she thought otherwise.
“I was a bit overwhelmed when I first heard about it and I thought there’s other people more deserving than me,” Mrs Denning said.
“I honestly and truly just love doing things for other people, I’ve done it all my life.
“My mum was a giving person and then when I got married my mother-in-law was the most beautiful lady, and I think I learnt a lot from that.”
Betty Denning’s consideration for an OAM first came about two years ago when a lady in Pittsworth contacted Mrs Denning’s daughter, Marilyn White, stating she would like to nominate Mrs Denning for the award.
“I had a lady in town call me two years ago and asked to meet with me and put it to me that she would like to nominate Mum,” Mrs White said.
“So I gave her all the information she needed and then she got the couple of other letters of support and submitted it to the Governor-General.”
Mrs White said Mrs Denning’s OAM nomination had been a secret for two years up until March when she received a letter asking if she would accept the award.
Then, on June 1, Mrs Denning checked her mail and was greeted with another letter from the Governor-General, this time confirming she had been selected to receive an OAM and congratulating her for the award.
“She also got a call from Canberra two weeks ago to tell her that she had actually been acknowledged in the Queen’s Honour List,” Mrs White said.
Mrs Denning said it is an honour to be named as a recipient of an OAM, especially as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Today, although she does less than she used to, at the age of 90 Mrs Denning still volunteers her time to help a number of organisations.
“I still do Senior Citizens on a Friday and play cards on a Saturday, and I still call bingo on Tuesday mornings down there, and on Tuesday night we run the bingo at the Hotel which is a fundraiser for Beauaraba,” Mrs Denning said.
“I also love going to the old people’s home, but they laugh at me because they say I’m older than half of them.”
She said she thoroughly enjoys the time she spends volunteering and would not have it any other way.
“It’s very rewarding to volunteer and while I can still do bingo and things like that I’ll still continue to do so.”
Mrs Denning has previously been recognised for her community service through awards such as Pittsworth Citizen of the Year in 2002 and a Pittsworth Lions Club District Governor Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to the community, but nothing can top being selected as a recipient of an OAM.
Mrs Denning’s OAM award was effective from Monday June 14 and she will attend an official award ceremony in September or October.