Cliff has followed an illustrious career in aviation with more than a decade of sterling service to Vision Australia. After serving in the RAAF, Cliff moved to New Guinea to work with a charter aircraft company and eventually bought his own plane. Roles with other airline companies, including Ansett, followed. Cliff’s eye condition is Retinal Vein Occlusion, which has deteriorated his vision over a number of years.
After his retirement, when the vision in both eyes was affected, Cliff contacted the Royal Blind Society (now Vision Australia) for practical support. He soon signed up as a volunteer, donating his time and knowledge to the organisation.
Recognising a growing need for social support, Cliff set up a Vision Impaired Person’s (VIP) support group in Sydney’s St George region, the first of many VIP groups in NSW.
In 2006 Cliff received the inaugural Vision Australia award in recognition of his work, which has been of benefit to so many.
Wanda has so many different volunteer roles she calls herself a ‘compulsive volunteer.’ Along with chairing two different low vision support groups, she organises a dinner group for Vision Australia, trains volunteers, is a frequent panel member for job interviews, is a Blind Sports Victoria delegate and is also an experienced Speaker.
As a young woman Wanda was one of the first students with vision impairment to be integrated into mainstream education at a high school level. At the age of 16 she learned braille and trained to be a telephonist / receptionist and went on to work at VicRoads for the next 16 years. Wanda married her childhood sweetheart Allen in 1981 and in 1988 their son Glen was born.
Wanda has been a public speaker for 18 years. She has spoken at pre-schools, primary schools, secondary colleges, TAFE colleges, nursing homes, aged care facilities, Probus groups, Lions clubs and auxiliary groups. Two highlights were receiving a Shine On award from Rotary for community service, and appearing on the Geoff Jansz TV show demonstrating how blind and vision impaired people go about cookery.
She has a passion for square dancing, which she has showcased all over the world and is also a keen Swish player.
Carol is a very independent person with a passion for research. When she lost her vision in 2002, from a disease called Diabetic Retinopathy, Carol was like a sponge, eager to absorb as much information as possible, which is how she found her way to Vision Australia.
Prior to losing her vision Carol worked as an Operations and Training Officer with the Queensland Government Disaster Management Service but found it wasn’t possible to continue in that role. She worked with Vision Australia to re-train for another role, which she says, ‘opened many, many doors and windows.’ Carol now runs her own Family History business, ‘Family Skeletons’ as well as having a part time role with Relationships Australia.
Meeting other people who were going through similar experiences was very valuable for Carol and because she feels strongly about giving something back, she now volunteers as a Peer Support Worker, as well as sharing her story as a Speaker.