ASC fundraiser Marlene Griffin awarded 2023 NSW Humanitarian Award

July 21, 2023

The ASC was honoured to accept a 2023 NSW Humanitarian Award on behalf of Marlene Griffin, who sadly passed away in May.

ASC Interim CEO Danielle Townsend (left) accepting the award from NSW Governor Margaret Beazley © Salty Dingo 2023

Marlene was a member of Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR), an advocate, and a fundraiser for the ASC. A talented artist, Marlene donated the proceeds of her exhibitions towards helping refugees and people seeking asylum.

Having long nurtured a passion for social justice and equality, Marlene spent most of her career in UK state schools as a science teacher, and in her spare time worked as a volunteer leader of the Leeds local community care group. On top of her job, volunteering, two small children and a family, the Griffins took in a young refugee from Uganda in 1973 after Idi Amin expelled the Ugandan Asian population.

Marlene and her husband Michael moved to Australia in 2007 to care for Marlene’s mother in Nambucca Heads. It was a big commitment, and an unexpected one, but Marlene took it on without batting an eyelid. Marlene made Nambucca her home, invigorating the community with her care and compassion.

Michael and Marlene

She and Michael revived the Nambucca and Bellingen chapter of Rural Australians for Refugees in 2017, campaigning for government policy to support refugees settling in Australia. Marlene would sell her paintings at RAR community market stalls to raise money for the ASC.

Even until the end, Marlene was a compassionate and dedicated advocate, asking her family to donate $1000 to the ASC instead of having a funeral service. Her memory lives on through the impact she has made not only in her Nambucca community, but in the lives of the people for whom she tirelessly campaigned.

2023 NSW Humanitarian Award winners © Salty Dingo 2023

The NSW Humanitarian Awards are an annual celebration of the people and groups working to support refugees, across a range of industries. Marlene was awarded in the rural and regional category for outstanding achievement. The ceremony took place at Government House, before NSW Governor Margaret Beazley AC KC.

Thank you to STARTTS NSW and the Refugee Council of Australia for supporting these awards in recognition of the wide community of people and organisations doing incredible humanitarian work within refugee and asylum seeker communities. And congratulations to all the winners.


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