MERYLParker believes in paying it forward.

ALWAYS LOOKING TO HELP: Meryl Parker has a look at a couple of new brochures for the Royal Far West, one of the many charities she is passionate about.

After a battle with cancer, Mrs Parker witnessedthe impact organisations like CanAssist have.

She was so overwhelmed by the generous spirit of Leeton residents she vowed to help other people going through what she did.

Working for Can Assist, Relay for Life and the Royal Far West, she knows the impact charities have on the lives of people in need and has worked hard to further their cause.Mrs Parker was a key figure in the return of Relay for Life, which raised more than$50,000 lastMarch.She hails from Hay and lovingly calls Leeton home. Shehas a large family of two sons, 12 grandkids and fivegreat grandkids.

What was your earliest childhood memory?

“I was about nine-years-old and went rabbit shooting with my (future)husband.”

What did you want to be when you grew up?

“I wanted to be a nurse.

“I trained and worked as a nurse for a while and then decided I’d go to New Zealand where I ended up in the traffic police force.

“I wasthe first female (officer) to ride a motorbike on patrol and the headlines in the paper said ‘Took Aussie to do it’.”

How do you feel school is different for children today from what it was like when you were a child?

“Everything is all electronic so I don’t think they really have to use their brain.”

If you could give advice to yourself as a child, what would you say?

“Nothing, I don’t think I’d change anything in my life really.”

What are your passions in life?

“Charity work, the friendship andcompanionship you build.Everyone becomes your family.”

What do you like best about living in Leeton?

“The people, there’s no stigma – everyone treats you the same.

“There are so many charities in Leeton, the businesses and schools are very supportive.

“I don’t think I could have done it all without them.”

What inspired you to get involved with the various charities?

“It started with Can Assist 12 years ago, after all the help they gave me during my treatment.

“I knewI could never repay them monetarily for all they had done and asked what I could do.

“One of the ladiessaid I could become a member and that’s how it started.

“I’ve been pushing for Relay for Life for more than six years before we were able to bring it back to Leeton.

“The important part is raising money forresearch, that’s where a cure will be.”

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