Una Gray - stitching success

Queensland retiree, Una Gray has received a Lord Mayor’s Senior Citizen of the Year award for her outstanding community dedication and work coordinating a group of volunteers who sew for Pillowcases Oncology Kids.

With over 20 years volunteering within her community, Una Gray has had her selfless dedication honoured this year in receiving a Lord Mayor’s Senior Citizen of the Year award.

At 88 years old, Una has been an exceptional leader within her community of Forest Lake for the last two decades. Una’s volunteering began at Inala Meals on Wheels where she worked as a cook for more than10 years. She is also been a member of the Forest Lake Probus Club, National Seniors Australia her local gardening club and has initiated a local, community-based walking group in association with the Heart Foundation.

After an incredible 60 years of marriage, Una’s husband passed away suddenly in November 2006. When she was approached at Forest Lake’s shopping centre and asked about starting a walking group, she put her name down as interested—and was excited to have the opportunity for a new hobby.

“Initially I signed up two members and then a third and suddenly news went around and people flocked to join.”

“I joined the group for its 10th birthday celebration last December and did complete the walk with the help of my wheelie walker,” she said.

One of Una’s proudest achievements is the work she’s done in conjunction with Pillowcases for Oncology Kids. P4OK, as it’s called, is a grassroots organisation that sews and delivers handmade pillowcases for children battling a cancer diagnosis and their siblings.

Una became interested in P4OK and the work that they do after receiving an article from her granddaughter about Brittany Booth, who started PO4K.

These pillowcases bring comfort at challenging times, providing a unique pillowcase that children can use while in the hospital to make it feel just that little bit more like home. Pillowcases for Oncology Kids also recognises that cancer doesn’t only affect the individual, but the whole family, and so stitches pillowcases for siblings as well.

Una leads a group of over a dozen women to stitch pillowcases for P4OK. The ladies work together to gather material which they then cut and sew into pillowcases to be sent to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.

“Knowing that one of my pillowcases has put a little joy in the life of a family that is going through a terrible trauma is very rewarding,” she said.

Through Una and her association with the Community Connect program at The Terraces Village, P4OK has received a grant from Lendlease to enable the purchase of materials.

“P4OK is an entirely voluntary group and we are always looking for money to buy fabric, so the money offered by Lendlease was wonderful,” Una said.

“We are incredibly fortunate that most of the money we have comes from grants from Forest Lake One Community (FLOC) Heritage Bank,”

On Australia Day this year, Una’s years of dedication were recognised with a Lord Mayor’s Senior Citizen of the Year award.

Una has called The Terraces Village home since September of 2011. With her 5 children, 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren as well as her friends in the village, Una is looking forward to continuing her work with PO4K and getting ready to celebrate her ninetieth birthday next year.