Shirley Chapman was presented with the Torch-Bearer Award on June 3, 2017, at a reception in the beautiful gardens of Christie Park outside Newcastle City Hall, attended by Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes. (NBN News recorded the event for the evening news.)
For 25 years Shirley has co-ordinated a volunteer group of women in the Lower Hunter region of NSW who offer a special kind of assistance to those who struggle with one of the basic necessities of life – the need to keep warm.
The group, known as ‘Wrap With Love’, hand-knit, crochet and sew blankets preventing hypothermia in poorer communities. Each year, they make thousands of blankets for distribution to homeless centres, refuges and orphanages all over the world.
Shirley says the organisation provides hope by letting people who were less fortunate know, that, “someone out there still cares.”
“I have the utmost admiration for all the ladies,” she said. “They are constantly making blankets and handing them to me.”
Shirley’s house in Newcastle has become the hub and distribution point for these colourful blankets and wraps as they are packed and shipped off to countries near and far.
In 2012, Shirley, a survivor of breast cancer, was presented with the Steel Magnolia title. The award is hosted annually by Lifeline and is given to women who have faced and overcome personal adversity and made a considerable contribution to the community.
Her passion to make the most of her second chance at life by helping others make her efforts truly stand out.
Earlier this year, Shirley was recognised in the Australia Day 2017 Honours List and was invested with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) at Government House in Sydney by the Governor of New South Wales His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley.
Shirley has been a part of Wrap with Love since it began and shows no signs of slowing down.