Bellingen Memorial Hall stalwarts honoured for long-time efforts

Louise and Mark at the Bellingen Memorial Hall.

TRIBUTE was paid recently to the exemplary dedication and service of Louise Rawson-Harris and Mark Willis for their tireless contributions to the Bellingen Memorial Hall for over two decades.

In a small ceremony held by Bellingen Shire Council at the hall, a plaque was unveiled in the foyer, immortalising their invaluable efforts.

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Alongside a devoted volunteer committee, Lousie managed the operations of the Memorial Hall from 1995 to 2018, with her partner Mark joining her in this endeavour in around 2005.

Louise and Mark’s unwavering commitment to the hall remained resolute, prompting friends and community members to advocate for formal recognition of their monumental efforts.

The gathering, attended by Louise, Mark, their loved ones and Deputy Shire Mayor Cr Ellie Tree, was a deserving acknowledgement of their selfless service.

While Mayor Cr Steve Allan expressed regret for his absence, he conveyed heartfelt gratitude, recognising the profound impact Louise and Mark had on fostering community cohesion and camaraderie through the Memorial Hall.

Throughout their tenure, Louise and Mark played integral roles in facilitating a wide array of community activities, from performances to workshops and film nights, laying the groundwork for subsequent renovations in collaboration with the Council.

“The legacy of the hall has always been about keeping the community strong and connected,” Mayor Cr Steve Allan remarked.

“It is our volunteers that provide that for all of us – and this small plaque is to acknowledge two special people, amongst others who have maintained the community heart of the hall.”

Looking ahead, Memorial Hall Coordinator Phil Nicholas expressed optimism about sustaining the hall’s community-centric ethos.

He urged community members to join the ‘Friends of the BMH’ initiative, emphasising the continued importance of volunteerism in preserving the hall as a cherished communal space.

“As we usher in a new era for the hall, we remain committed to upholding its legacy as a hub for community connection and enrichment,” said Mr Nicholas.

“We encourage anyone who wants to get involved to join the ‘Friends of the BMH’ – there are plenty of opportunities to contribute and be part of our community Hall in various capacities.”

The new plaque paying tribute to Louise and Mark’s long-time efforts at the hall.

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