- Friday 12 December 2014
Shirley Barber received a pretty special Christmas surprise today, courtesy of Sunshine Coast Airport and Jetstar.
Shirley, 76, just missed out on the Senior Citizen of the Year Award earlier this year, but her name was earmarked for any future opportunity to acknowledge the huge contribution she has made to the Coast community.
The result was a quiet little bit of organising behind the scenes by Sunshine Coast Airport to bring Shirley’s long-time friend Lynn Kirkwood and her husband Rhett up from Melbourne for a surprise weekend visit.
“With the help of Shirley’s son Simon, airport staff was able to arrange a ‘tour’ of Sunshine Coast Airport for her as a cover to ensure she could be at the airport when Lynn and Rhett’s plane landed,” Mayor Mark Jamieson said.
“Jetstar picked up on our efforts and agreed to provide the flights, while Melbourne Airport agreed to ensure the couple could leave their car in a safe place for the weekend without charge.
“Local company DC Limos has also come on board and organised a free trip to a local restaurant and back to Shirley’s Mount Coolum home after.”
“Shirley has a background as a nurse and owner of a business involved in nutrition education in Melbourne before her retirement to the Sunshine Coast.
“On retirement she began volunteering at Bloomhill Cancer Care in Buderim and for more than 10 years has helped hundreds of local residents find a calm and restorative place to come to terms with their cancer diagnosis through positive thinking, visualisation and peer support.
“Shirley's outstanding commitment to Bloomhill was recognised in 2013 with a Rotary Club of Buderim award. She has also worked extensively with dementia clients at Mount Coolum Aged Care Service, working with their dementia clients.
Mayor Jamieson said Shirley was an outstanding example of selflessness and set a standard few of us can approach.
“This is a time for giving something back, so this opportunity to help Shirley and Lynn in a reunion was jumped at,” the Mayor said.
“We wish them well this weekend and hope they can make contact more easily and frequently in the future.