Jeni Borellini was awarded the Wally Hinschen Volunteer of the Year award at the Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, Proserpine and surrounds Australia Day ceremony on Sunday.
Jeni Borellini was awarded the Wally Hinschen Volunteer of the Year award at the Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, Proserpine and surrounds Australia Day ceremony on Sunday.

Cannonvale resident ‘humbled’ by award

JENI Borellini is used to being recognised in the streets of Airlie Beach and has happily adopted the nickname ‘sausage roll lady’ as a reference to her famous stall at the markets.

However, Mrs Borellini was recognised for a different reason at the Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, Proserpine and surrounds Australia Day ceremony on Sunday when she received the Wally Hinschen Volunteer of the Year Award.

The award was unexpected for Mrs Borellini who has called the region home for more than 35 years.

“I never, ever in my wildest dream expected to win anything,” she said.

“I was just happy with the little letter they sent me out (to say I’m nominated) and I stuck it on the fridge.

“I was really humbled.”

The award was given to Mrs Borellini for her selfless service to the community and hours spent volunteering.

The New Zealand born long-time Cannonvale resident lent her musical talents to many events across the region and said it was during her time volunteering that her passion for music blossomed.

“I started playing ukulele when I was visiting the Proserpine nursing home,” she said.

“There was a music teacher that shared a room with my aunty and she encouraged me to play and we started having little concerts and a singalong after tea.

“Before you know it, I hooked up with some other people and I had a band going.”

Since then, Mrs Borellini has sung at Anzac Day ceremonies, the Cyclone Ada Memorial and Seniors Week celebrations.

She has also goes armed with her ukulele and bubbly presence to the local nursing home, disability support groups, the PCYC, indigenous gatherings and schools.

Jo-Anne Fraser, Jeni Borellini, Michelle Brayford and Jack Handley all received awards at the Australia Day ceremony in Proserpine.
Jo-Anne Fraser, Jeni Borellini, Michelle Brayford and Jack Handley all received awards at the Australia Day ceremony in Proserpine.

Her long list of achievements received an overwhelming reception during the packed out ceremony on Sunday, and Mrs Borellini said the award was made even more special because of her connection to its namesake.

“We actually knew Wally Hinschen very well so that’s why it was such an honour to receive the award,” she said.

“Wally was a well-known local in Proserpine and that really was something special to me.”

While Mrs Borellini was sworn to secrecy over the secret ingredient to her famous sausage rolls, she did share some words of wisdom on the importance of volunteering in such a tight-knit community.

“Even if you can only do one hour, just do one hour,” she said.

“Start really, really little and then slowly you find you move up the ladder.

“Whenever anyone says to me ‘I wish I could do what you do’, I say ‘well I can pick you up!’”

Ever humble, Mrs Borellini thanked all those in the community who supported and worked alongside her throughout her efforts.

“We’re lucky in Whitsundays that we have a great group of volunteers,” she said.

“This award is for everybody in the community.”


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