Every year QRMFN recognises the incredible contributions made by the spouses and partners of Queensland’s rural doctors through the presentation of the ‘Backbone of the Bush Award’. This Award is presented by QRMFN President at the RDAQ conference Gala Dinner held in June.
This year’s recipient is Bec Telfer, from Stanthorpe. Bec has contributed to numerous community organisations and events, both local and national, since moving to their community 10 years ago. Bec has organised events for new doctors and medical students to meet with other local health service providers, and welcoming them into the Telfer home. When presented with the award, a surprised and humbled Bec had this to say: “It was really lovely to be acknowledged, I don’t really feel that I have done anything exceptional, I’ve just done what I am able to do. I feel volunteering has given me much more than I have given, it was almost overwhelming to be awarded for it too! And let’s face it, if you have to choose between volunteering towards something you believe in and doing the housework, then… !!”
Bec has been instrumental in fundraising for organisations including the local school, the Australian Breastfeeding Association, kindergarten, sporting and arts groups. She also finds time to act as the school’s tuckshop coordinator.
Professionally, Bec has worked as a casual midwife for Queensland Health, as a community midwife, has run antenatal education groups and spent time as a nurse at a local aged care home. Through all this, Bec has also remained the primary caregiver to the three Telfer children.
Bec is a founding member of the MUMSS (Mother’s United for Maternity Services Stanthorpe), a group that campaigned successfully for improved maternity facilities that culminated in a $1.4 million dollar upgrade to the local birthing facilities in Stanthorpe hospital. Bec was also the Membership Secretary and a member of the Executive Committee for the national Maternity Coalition for several years.
A quote from her husband James, sums up Bec’s amazing contribution to her community “People think that a town gains from a new doctor coming to town. The greatest asset for Stanthorpe when I came to town was Bec.”