Albert 'Bert' Peachey, 90, retires after 60 years volunteering in shire

"Me time": Bert Peachey relaxes amid the beauty of the Camellia Gardens after completing 60 years as a volunteer. Picture: supplied
"Me time": Bert Peachey relaxes amid the beauty of the Camellia Gardens after completing 60 years as a volunteer. Picture: supplied

Albert "Bert" Peachey, 90, finally has time to smell the roses - or at least the camellias - after serving as a volunteer in Sutherland Shire for 60 years.

Mr Peachey, 90, of Woolooware, has worked in many roles ranging from being a member of council committees and advancing major projects to being Santa for the annual Seniors Christmas Concert.

Sutherland Shire Council is hoping more people like Mr Peachey will put their hand up to work for the community during National Volunteer Week, starting on Monday, May 20.

One need is the Sutherland Shire Loneliness Project.

During the last year, more than 50 residents have come forward to provide companionship to the lonely, and more volunteers would enable the program to reach out further.

Mayor Carmelo Pesce said volunteering was "a great way to remain connected and involved, meet new friends and learn something new".

Cr Pesce said the shire had more volunteers per capita than anywhere in Australia, but there were always opportunities for others to get involved.

Mr Peachey started volunteering in 1960 after the council asked him to give a statement about a new development in Cronulla.

He joined North Cronulla Woolooware Progress Association, which led to him working closely with councillors and senior staff on new infrastructure such as the Captain Cook Playing fields and its irrigation.

He has also been involved in Cronulla Community Hall, Sutherland Shire Junior Soccer Association, Cronulla RSL Youth Club (about 25 years), Meals on Wheels and the council's Seniors Reference Group.

Mr Peachey was a a key figure in 1978 in the council establishing a Sister City relationship with Lakewood in Denver, Colorado, and accompanied a group of 34 students for the first visit.

In the 1980s, Mr Peachey was involved in fundraising and renovations to the then run-down Gunnamatta Pavilion, which, more than 30 years later, is a valued community gym and hall.

Mr Peachey said he was mainly proud of all the small changes he had been able to make.

"All the little things add up and really make a difference to the community," he said.

Mr Peachey strongly encourages other residents to think about volunteering.

"It's a side of the community that some people don't see, but there really is a great community spirit," he said.

Mr Peachey and his wife Nancye, 88, married in 1951. They have two children and five grandchildren.

People interested in volunteering can explore the options at High Tea by the Sea at the Rydges, Cronulla on May 20,

More information: Call 1300 327 434 or visit: https://bit.ly/2vTgO24