Dee's Honour

STORY AND PHOTO: KATRINA CONDIE

30 Jan, 2008 10:18 AM

DEE Carrington has been named the Australia Day Shoalhaven Citizen of the Year, recognising her tireless campaign for a cancer clinic at Milton.

The Milton Hospital Cancer Outpatients Appeal president said she was overwhelmed when mayor Greg Watson announced her name at Saturday's Australia Day Awards at Nowra Showground.

"It was a bit overwhelming really, but it was a wonderful day.

"It's a terrific honour for me and everyone involved with the appeal.

"Without a wonderful committee and the strong community support we wouldn't be getting our cancer centre," Dee said.

The outpatients appeal has been a tremendous community effort, but there's always one person who pulls all the strings together to make something happen and, in this case, that person is Dee Carrington.

She has been the driving force behind a mammoth campaign that has raised $500,000 in almost four and a half years and will culminate in March when the Milton Hospital Cancer Services and Support Centre finally opens its doors.

Dee has become the face of the appeal handling publicity and marketing, spearheading countless fundraising events, liaising with politicians, doctors, hospital staff and the area health service and finally coordinating the centre's design and building team.

She has never given up and has worked relentlessly from the moment she joined the committee, kick started by doctors Brett Thomson and Chris Turner.

"A lot of people have worked hard for this facility and I suppose I have coordinated everything and pulled it together.

"I have been intimately involved in everything from fundraising to selecting the building materials.

"I've never been so involved and passionate about in anything in all my life," Dee said.

Born and bred in Yorkshire, England, Dee lived and worked in London, Kent and Los Angeles in the United States before she and her husband John retired to Milton in 1994.

The couple was naturalised by then Shoalhaven Mayor Max Atkins 10 years ago.

After working all their lives in business management and the nursing and medical research fields and travelling around the world, Dee and John retired to a rural property in Milton to lead a quiet life by the sea.

"But I have never been so busy," Dee said.

"Once the centre is up and running I look forward to some more time to enjoy doing craft and painting.

"But I won't relax until everything is done and the centre doors are open."

Dee said the cancer clinic has been a very complex project that will provide the Milton-Ulladulla district with a unique facility that may be used as a model for other regional towns.

"It has been amazing to watch the project grow from a basic idea to a fully operational centre that will bring cancer services closer to local patients.

"It is something that is close to my heart, as it is to a lot of people in town who have lost relatives and friends to cancer.

"We will have something very special."