You know the song, everyone needs good neighbours. On 23 May 2018, Lane Cove Council awarded their Neighbour Day Awards. These awards recognise neighbours who make a difference in their streets.
The Dinnell Family
In 2013 their neighour Mary Ann acquired a brain injury through illness. At the time Justine Dinnell organised the neighbours to support Mary Ann’s young family with visits and meals.
Justine is described as a strong, caring person who is selfless and thoughtful, offering her time as well as encouraging her children to do the same. Husband Charlie is happy to offer a helping hand – charging a battery, removing rubbish and lending gardening advice. He is the person who is happy to get his hands dirty for you.
But the neighbourly behaviour doesn’t stop with mum and dad – Angus, Liam and Hannah are a source of delight and encouragement for Mary Ann’s seven year old twins. They are great at helping with homework, weeding the garden and moving furniture.
Riverview resident, Jocelyn Jamieson has always been an enthusiastic, caring and warm person recognised by her neighbours as actively building a sense of community in Coonah Parade.
Several years ago Jocelyn organised a hand-out for each house in the street to ensure that everyone knew each other. She did this by taking a picture of each house with its inhabitants standing outside. These were then organised onto several pages, printed, laminated and distributed to each house to form a directory for the street. Neighbours found this to be a wonderful resource to encourage residents to get to know each other.
Jocelyn also tends to the garden at the end of Coonah Parade; has set up a local Mah Jong club and actively chats to everyone on her walk home.
At the heart of 200 units/townhouses in 25 Best Street is valued neighbour and all-round generous spirit, Karen Neville.
Karen is always thinking of ways to get the community together, from Easter Egg Hunts, Christmas BBQs and Halloween Trick or Treat events, Karen is rallying her neighbours to make things happen.
Behind the fun and games, Karen is reliable in times of crisis – she is the first person anyone rings: the powerlines are down – ring Karen, a tree has come down – ring Karen, the electricity sub-station has smoke coming out of it – ring Karen.
Neighbours say that Karen is always ready to manage the issue. Karen is the one you will find standing in the rain, informing residents about the dangers ahead and liaising with the emergency crews. When a tree fell on powerlines she set up the hazard barriers on the road, warned people not to drive ahead and arranged for the tree branches to be cut up and removed.
Katrina played a critical role in saving her neighbour’s life.
Katrina’s sense of neighbourly concern made her notice that her neighbour Rosy’s garage light was switched on all night – something unusual given her usual pattern of behaviour. It was the weekly waste collection the following morning and Katrina had looked for Rosy’s bin that morning to help her take it down the long, steep driveway. This was something Katrina had done since she became aware of Rosy taking a fall a few months earlier.
Katrina became worried and tried to contact Rosy by her mobile phone, landline and my knocking on her door. There was no response. Katrina had names listed on an Emergency Contact List for Rosy, something provided to surrounding neighbours after Rosy had a mild stroke several years ago. In addition to calling “000” the husband of one of Rosy’s friends rushed over to help after being contacted through the list.
While the ambulance and police did thankfully arrive, it wasn’t until her friend’s husband arrived that Rosy was able to rouse herself to come to the door. It turns out she had been in and out of consciousness since the night before with acute food poisoning. After some medical preliminaries, Rosy was whisked away to the Emergency Department of Royal North Shore Hospital where she was confined for five days.
Michael and Renee Stevens
Michael and Renee Stevens love Lane Cove. They live and work in Lane Cove. They have a legal firm called SRM Lawyers.
In Lane Cove West the Musumeci family have acknowledged how grateful they are for the welcome they received from the Stevens family.
After hearing which school their new neighbours’ son would be attending, Michael and Renee went above and beyond to introduce the Musumeci’s to friends that were also connected to the same school. The Stevens family went out of their way to arrange a special and lovely social evening at their home to help their new neighbours meet and build friendships with other families from the local community.
This deep and genuine act of bringing people together and sharing common threads may sound simple but the Musumeci family acknowledge that in a busy, modern world this is increasingly hard to come by.
Well done to all these great neighbours and the people who nominated them. If you know a great neighbour make sure you nominate them next year.
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