Heritage Bank announces Volunteer of the Year

Heritage Bank has today recognised the tireless efforts of Queenslanders who give up their own time to work for their community by announcing the winner of its first-ever Volunteer of the Year competition.

In a contest that was decided by a public vote, the inaugural winner is Louise Saunders, President of Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland

Ms Saunders receives $1000, while her organisation will be $10,000 better off thanks to the inaugural awards to recognise the tireless work of volunteers.

Under the public voting system, Ms Saunders received 925 votes, 210 ahead of Karen Croke from Knitting for Brisbane’s Needy.

Heritage Bank CEO Mr John Minz said the awards had been popular, with 150 volunteers nominated to receive the prestigious award and 7,762 votes cast by members of the public via social media platform Facebook.

“My congratulations and thanks go to all who were nominated for their efforts to support the community organisations they’re passionate about,” Mr Minz said.

“We were really pleased with both the number and diversity of groups represented, which is testimony to the great value that volunteers add.

“Well done to Louise and Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland to gain the support of voters to take out the top prize.”

Ms Saunders was described in her nomination as a beloved president, a constant inspiration, wonder, tireless advocate and determined activist, patient and professional educator, methodical researcher and the glue for the Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland.

Mr Minz said Heritage also supported the work of volunteers by offering paid leave for its staff to perform voluntary duties.

Ms Saunders was thrilled with the news of the win.

"This is very, very exciting and I cannot thank Heritage enough. We are in such desperate need of resources and this is just such good news,” she said.

"We work hard to rescue bats and save them from dying in anguish. A very important part of what we do is collect injured bats so people do not approach them and get bitten or scratched.

Ms Saunders said her group worked to improve understanding and respect for our wildlife.

“Part of this is the education trailer we take with us to various groups. We also have a mascot which we use to help educate kids on safety associated with bats and also how they play an important role in the wild,” she said.

"I really would just love to thank Heritage - what you've done for both organisations and volunteers is wonderful and I'm just so happy to hear this news."

For more information on the work of Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland go to: http://www.bats.org.au/


* Based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.