Yass man leaves his mark

The oncology unit at Dubbo Base Hospital (DBH) bears witness to the dedication and passion of former Yass man Bryson Luff, who earned the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.

From his humble beginnings on a family farm at Yass, the 58-year-old has a long list of achievements behind his award for "the service to the community of Gilgandra".

Mr Luff, a careers adviser at Gilgandra High School, started his 40 years of volunteering while at university at Wagga Wagga.

He said moving to Gilgandra opened up many opportunities for him to help out.

"I always thought you should help out in the community you live in," he said.

The biggest achievement during a lifetime's worth of community work was building the oncology unit at DBH.

Mr Luff said his wife had cancer and had travelled with two other Gilgandra women to the then "run-down and disgraceful" unit for treatment.

In 1995, he helped found the Gilgandra and District Cancer Fundraisers group.

Within 18 months of hard work, they raised $365,000.

With the help of his fellow members, he convinced the state government to match their fundraising efforts.

"This great achievement shows you how much a small group of volunteers can do," he said.

Other voluntary duties include being the active blood donor co-ordinator and bus driver for Gilgandra High School, and taking on the vice-presidency at Gilgandra Panthers Rugby League Club. He was recently named a life member of the club.

His impact on local rugby league cannot be underestimated. On top of his Gilgandra roles he was a publicity officer with the Castlereagh rugby league competition, became a Country Rugby League volunteer of the year finalist, was vice-president of Men of league in western NSW and received both an Australian Sports Medal (2000) and NSW Touch Association Blue.

Mr Luff said he was shocked to receive an OAM.

"It came out of the blue," he said.

"I was absolutely stunned."

Mr Luff encouraged Dubbo residents to go out in the community and volunteer.

"It's a great thing to do... the world won't go around unless we make it go around," he said.

Mr Luff's brother and Yass Valley Council staffer Ross Luff is proud of his sibling's achievements and said he was a worthy recipient of the OAM.

Bryson Luff, who now lives at Gilgandra, was surprised but gratified by his Queen’s Birthday honour.

Bryson Luff, who now lives at Gilgandra, was surprised but gratified by his Queen’s Birthday honour.