Brenda Murray’s strong advocacy for the blind and low vision community in Victoria’s Gippsland region has been acknowledged with an award from Vision Australia.
She won an individual award as part of the Vision Australia Awards, which were presented this week at the Vision Australia annual general meeting in Melbourne.
The awards, created in 2006, honour those who have helped to make a difference through their commitment to Vision Australia’s mission to ensure people who are blind or have low vision can live the life they choose.
Brenda has been a client of Vision Australia for more than 10 years and lives and lives an active and independent life.
She has been instrumental in establishing support and local client groups for older adults in the area and has long been passionate about ageing well.
She has served on various committees researching and establishing services for older people and was a local government councillor in her region for 22 years, serving as the first mayor of the newly formed East Gippsland Shire in the 1990s.
Additionally, Brenda was a member of the Victorian and Australian Blind Bowls Association and has served on her council's Disability Advisory Committee for the past 10 years.
She is a vital member of Vision Australia’s Client Reference Group and was instrumental in campaigning for Vision Australia to establish a new office in Bairnsdale, which opened in August.
Brenda was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1985 for service to the community.
Vision Australia Chief Executive Officer Ron Hooton spoke warmly of Brenda’s commitment to the organisation.
“Brenda has been a force of nature within our organisation for quite some time. She is the reason we have a Bairnsdale office. She is the reason that we have a blindness and low vision community in Gippsland. She has a rich history of community participation,” he said.
“It seems to me from the visits that I have had to Gippsland that Brenda can do anything.”
Brenda said she was proud of her part in the opening of the Bairnsdale office.
She said it had led to better services for people who are blind or have low vision and had an increase in clients – a demonstration of the need in the region.
“This is just such a shock. I accept it on behalf of all the Client Reference Group members because we all work for what we see as a good thing,” she said.