Bingara’s Geoff Leech has been chosen as the subject of a portrait to be displayed at the Currabubula Art Show later this year. Cr Catherine Egan, on behalf of Council, nominated Geoff in an ABC New England North West competition winner recently.
Jennifer Ingall of ABC New England North West and Geoff Lonergan, the artist who will actually paint Geoff’s portrait met with Geoff, Barb and Cr Egan.
Geoff and Barb Leech moved to Bingara a few years ago, and are both valued members of our community and both are active volunteers. Both wish to become Australian citizens, however, this has proved very difficult.
Council, Senator John Williams, local Member for Parkes Mark Coulton and the Hon Richard Torbay MP have all supported their application for citizenship but to date this has proven unsuccessful.
Both are active members of the local Theatre company, building production sets, making costumes and generally helping out. Geoff helps out with handyman jobs wherever needed, including making trophies for Pony Club, cutting wood for neighbours, and doing various household jobs. He is also seen regularly driving the elderly downtown to appointments, buying groceries and running errands for those unable.
The most extraordinary contribution is the work Geoff does for the SES. Geoff is no ‘ordinary member’; he has undertaken many specialised courses and is car crash, general, swift water, storm. damage, chainsaw, emergency vehicle operation, flood observation, casualty, body search and retrieval, and submersion and diving, rescues.
Being highly qualified places a huge responsibility on Geoff. He is called on to deal with incidents involving people known to him including friends. This task, he feels, is extremely important and one which he takes on willingly. Geoff not only volunteers within our local area, but because of his specialist and varied qualifications he has worked in Goodooga, Mungindi, Lennox Heads, Gilgandra, Richmond and Tweed areas, Lismore and Grafton.
He volunteers for the for the satisfaction he gains from helping people in need, from floods, fires, first aid at sporting days and events accidents. Our community is very very lucky to have such an ‘action man’ call Bingara home, especially because Geoff can not gain Australian citizenship.
Geoff and Barb are self funded retirees who moved to Australia from England.