Jean wins citizen award

Jean Platt shows off the award she won for the Byron Shire Citizen of the Year 2011.
Jean Platt shows off the award she won for the Byron Shire Citizen of the Year 2011.

At a time when most people should be enjoying their ‘twilight’ years, Jean Platt has the energy and stamina of people half her age.

For more than 45 years, this 83-year-old from Ocean Shores has been active in community work, spending many hours a week helping those in need.

For the past three years, Mrs Platt has also co-reared two of her 15 great-grandchildren, aged 10 and eight.

The children live with her every second week, while the children’s father Nathan (Mrs Platt’s grandson) lives with Mrs Platt fulltime.

Mrs Platt’s community contribution has not gone unrecognised, and last week she was awarded with the Byron Shire Senior Citizen of the Year award at the Australia Day ceremony in Byron Bay.

“I felt like a bit of a fraud accepting the award,” Mrs Platt said.

“When I heard what all the other award recipients had done, I felt that I had not done enough.

“I just do lots of little things.”

Those ‘little things’ include being involved with the Girl Guides Association for 45 years; delivering meals for the Brunswick Heads Meals on Wheels for 10 years; helping the mentally and physically challenged from Accommodation Network every second week; volunteering her time as a member of the Mullumbimby Hospital’s Lilac Ladies and giving reading assistance at the Ocean Shores Primary School.

“Some people feel old at 40, and while there are some times when I do feel my age, I really don’t get too tired,” Mrs Platt said.

“I have loved my voluntary work and it’s been so much fun, particularly with the Guides and in 2000 I went on a camping trip to Cairns with the guides from Brunswick Heads.

“I have also been to central Australia and Jindabyne.”

Mrs Platt and her husband, who died in 2006, moved to the Byron Shire from Sydney 18 years ago to retire.

But within two months, Mrs Platt was ‘back at work’ with the Girl Guides.

“I only have a minor role now though,” she says.

Mrs Platt said she could not understand why more people did not volunteer their time.

“You get so much out of it, it’s keep me going and keeps my young.

“I just hope that I continue to be healthy and can keep driving.”

Among all her commitments, Mrs Platt also finds time to go the gym three times a week.

“I haven’t lost any weight,” she laughs. “But it keeps me fit and I love it.”

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