FOR Prue Viggers, nobility, courage, and service were values instilled during her formative years at Hunter Girls High School.
She said it was those same values that had influenced her desire to “give back”, and which had no doubt led to her receiving Australia Day honours for her service to the community.
“I am feeling humbled, and a little amazed,” Miss Viggers said.
Since her retirement from teaching in 2005, Miss Viggers has devoted her spare time to supporting and managing local organisations, clubs and charities, and – in particular – promoting the visual arts in Newcastle.
“I have had a long association with Newcastle Art Gallery,” she said.
“I am the president of the Newcastle Art Gallery Society, and I have been for a little over 10 years. I have also been on the acquisitions committee.”
Miss Viggers is also the editor of the gallery’s magazine, Artemis, and has been on working parties for the extension of the facility.
As a gallery guide, she works with school groups and adults, providing tours of the exhibitions.
“I have always enjoyed attending art galleries, wherever I have travelled, to get a feel for the culture,” she said.
“And I think Newcastle Art Gallery has a wonderful collection of works. I look forward to its future where it will get bigger and we’ll be able to display even more of it. Newcastle has always had a rich and promising arts culture.
“Even though we have our wonderful beaches and other sites, we do have a strong visual and performing arts community here as well.”
Through hosting events and lectures, the Newcastle Art Gallery Society – which has almost 1000 members – raises money to assist with the acquisition of artworks for the gallery.
Miss Viggers also volunteers for Meals on Wheels, and has been involved with Newcastle Hill Tennis Club for the past 40 years. As vice-president of the tennis club, she works with Newcastle City Council to help manage the facility.
“It has just been about giving back to the community,” she said. “My high school motto was nobility, courage, service,” she said. “I think I have taken that on board.
“Volunteering is win-win. You get so much out of it.”