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December 2018

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Hamish Russell

Student supporter is senior of the year

Retired health professional Hamish Russell, 79, has taken out the prestigious 2018 Victorian senior of the year award for his volunteer work to improve health outcomes in Melbourne’s outer east.

Mr Russell and 17 other award recipients were recognised for their community work by the Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau at Government House.

Older Victorians make up more than 15 per cent of the state’s population and the annual seniors awards recognise their enormous contribution across Victoria.

Since retiring from a long career in health management, Mr Russell has worked to ensure the provision of high-quality health services in the Shires of Yarra Ranges and Cardinia by setting up a tertiary scholarship program.

His program has helped more than 70 students become doctors, nurses or allied health professionals and has contributed to many other positive health care developments in local outer eastern communities.

The promotion of multiculturalism award went to Marin Ahmed Abdulle, 69, for her frontline support for newly-arrived Somali migrants, helping them transition into their new community.

A COTA senior achiever award went to Robert Lowe, 71, from Warrnambool.

An Aboriginal elder and cultural mentor and writer, Mr Lowe has worked in his community as a relationship builder and role model.

Another COTA senior achiever award went to Brenda Appleton, 67, from South Yarra for her advocacy, education and research participation on care services for older members of the LGBTI community, particularly transgender people.

•      For more information about the 2018 victorian senior of the year awards and a list of winners visit