Kingaroy Eisteddfod patron honoured to volunteer
SEASONED volunteer June Kimlin has volunteered in many roles throughout her life, and now her doctor tells her to slow down.
After this year's Kingaroy Eisteddfod, her doctor told her she could no longer undertake the mammoth job of organising the dance, music, speech and drama eisteddfod, due to the state of her health.
"My doctor said that was enough, you can't fight that and do all of that organising,” she said.
Eisteddfod vice-president Mrs Kimlin has volunteered behind the scenes at the Kingaroy Eisteddfod for more than 25 years and took on the role of overseeing the whole event, from booking halls and hotels, to making sure the schedules and programs were out.
Mrs Kimlin, who turned 81 this week, was honoured to be named the Kingaroy Eisteddfod patron last year, taking over from Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen.
"It was quite an honour, I thought I was a bit old but they told me 'you're not 90 yet',” she said.
She will continue serving as the patron, on the eisteddfod committee and helping in minor roles.
"I can give advice and go to the eisteddfod with little, minor jobs, as long as I don't overtax myself,” she said.
"I've got to be careful, my age is a bit against me.”
She also has been volunteering with the South Burnett Arthritis Support Group for more than 25 years, and organising the tai chi group since 2005.
"It's a wonderful feeling to help the children, or people with disabilities with the tai chi and arthritis,” Mrs Kimlin said.
"I do it all because I get a lot of benefit and a lot of love from the community. I've always done it in one way or another.”
Growing up around the South Burnett, Mrs Kimlin had always enjoyed watching her friends dance at the eisteddfod, as well as music, playing her violin with her brothers' band at country barn dances.
She later cut her finger, preventing her from continuing to play the violin, instead taking up the piano accordion and banjo.
Mrs Kimlin eventually turned her sacrifice of no longer playing the violin into fostering young talent through the eisteddfod.
Kingaroy eisteddfod entrants have gone on to perform in Sydney and all over the world, with careers in the entertainment industry.
"It's great to see the children, year-after-year, how they progress. It gives you a great sense of pride in the local talent we have here in the South Burnett,” Mrs Kimlin said.
Kingaroy Eisteddfod co-vice president Joan Schloss said every volunteer group needed a leader, and June was the best leader.
"She's one of those ladies you want to work alongside, seeing her example, her nature, it's been a pleasure to be with June,” she said.
She was the right choice for the patron because of her sincerity, her dedication and love for the eisteddfod, often taking the extra time to mentor younger volunteers.
"She's one of the softest, most beautiful people I've ever met, she's just self-sacrificing and always there for others,” Mrs Schloss said.
"My most heartfelt thank-you for her volunteering with everything in Kingaroy, as she has contributed more than anyone in a volunteer role,” she said.
The Kingaroy Eisteddfod is looking for someone to take on the role of eisteddfod organiser.
"It's quite a big role, but it's a very satisfying one,” Mrs Schloss said.