Margaret Keech OAM

Three Bendigo women were recipients of the Medal of the Order of Australia awarded as part of the Queen’s Birthday honours on Monday.

Margaret Keech, Milly Parker and Olive Bice were among the women who were honoured this year, an achievement for not only themselves, but also the Bendigo region.

Strathfieldsaye resident Ms Keech was honoured for her service in the community of Bendigo with many hours dedicated to a number of organisations around the city.

“I was very surprised, very humbled and it was a wonderful recognition of some of the things I do,” Ms Keech said.

Ms Keech has given a lot of her time to groups such as Scouts Victoria, the Girton Grammar Parents and Friends Association and the Ulumbarra Foundation.

“I like to be involved. I’ve always been a person who likes to be involved in doing things,” she said.

Ms Parker was recognised for her advocacy roles for people with disabilities.

She was able to share the moment she found out about the award with her mother as she spoke to her over the phone.

“She started reading the letter out to me and we both just started bawling. It was a massive mix of emotions,” Ms Parker said.

After suffering a brain injury as a result of a car accident at the age of 21, she has devoted time to groups and campaigns such as the Every Australian Counts campaign, the Victorian Disability Advisory Council and young people in nursing homes.

Maiden Gully country singer Ms Bice was acknowledged for her service to the performing arts.

Ms Bice was actually performing in Barmera, South Australia when she got the news of her achievement.

“I cried when I got the news,” she said.

“I was surrounded by country music at the time… I was singing a few songs and we let the crowd know and I got a standing ovation.”

Ms Bice has also helped raise money for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal and motor neurone disease and the Bendigo children’s ward.

– Alex Gretgrix