Recognising Victoria's Outstanding Seniors

By Dustin Halse MP

03 December 2021

Nunawading resident Valerie Donlan has been recognised with the COTA (Council on the Ageing) Victoria Senior Achiever award at the Victorian Senior of the Year Awards for her volunteer work.


Valerie has volunteered at Eastern Volunteers as a driver, with AMES as a tutor, at WIRE as a telephone support worker and since retiring nine years ago in a multi-faceted role at U3A Nunawading including four as president.


Valerie is recognised particularly for her response to COVID-19. She was instrumental in setting up over 100 Zoom classes to maintain member participation, establishing a Facebook group and producing monthly newsletters to keep members connected during isolation. Valerie actively promotes positive ageing, exploring and advocating for opportunities for older people to be important and active in their community. She is a great communicator.


For more than 25 years, the Victorian Senior of the Year Awards have recognised the volunteer work and community contributions of older Victorians. This year’s awardees highlight the resilience, compassion and commitment of senior Victorians, particularly during the pandemic.


The Victorian Senior of the Year Awards are presented annually as part of the Victorian Seniors Festival. Award recipients will be celebrated in person with a ceremony at Government House in early 2022.


For more information about the 2021 Victorian Senior of the Year awards and a list of winners, visit


Quote attributable to Member for Ringwood, Dustin Halse


“Congratulations to Valerie on this well-deserved award – what a difference she has made to our community!”


Quotes attributable to Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, James Merlino


“Despite the challenges of 2021, senior Victorians continue to step up and give back to their community – and the awards give us the chance to say thanks for all that they do.”