NSW Nationals stalwart Val Gardiner has done Tenterfield proud, being awarded Life membership of the Party at the Annual General Conference in Cowra.

It was a rare honour for the family, who now count two life members among them. Val’s father, C.L. Rose, joined the Tenterfield Branch in the 1930s, was Branch Chairman from 1949 to 1971, and earned his Life Membership in 1966. Val was elected Tenterfield Branch Secretary in 1982, a position she held until being elected Chairman in 2003. She always ensured the Branch met once a month without fail and also took Branch meetings to smaller communities helping to maintain Party interest and membership in those areas. Val has been the longstanding organiser of the Branch’s annual Women’s Lunch and was coordinator for the Party’s Regional Conference in Tenterfield in 2001, marking the Centenary of Federation.

NSW Nationals Chairman Bede Burke congratulated Val on her well-deserved honour.

“Having two Life Members from one family is not common,” he said. “The only other example that comes to mind is the Page family – Earle Page received a Life Membership in 1954 and his grandson, Don Page, 60 years later, in 2014. It is the highest honour the Party can bestow.”

Senator John Williams said that Val was an important local identity and good friend.

“Val is an icon in Tenterfield – she has contributed so much to so many organisations over many decades,” he said. “She has an unflappable nature, and I’m proud to call her a dear friend.”

The NSW Nationals Conference attracted more than 350 grassroots members in Cowra to debate the policies of the Party and hear from elected representatives. The Central Council has determined that next year’s Conference will be held in Inverell.