Life Membership – Valerie Thornton


At the 2021 August AGM June Blackburn nominated Valerie Thornton for Life Membership which was supported by the members.

As a surprise, some of Valerie’s family including her granddaughter turned up at her house to present her clock and flowers. Other family members joined in on the Zoom Meeting.

Valerie Thornton suprise life membership presentation

The clock, clock made by Mr. Blackburn, is inscribed on the back, to mark this special occasion.

Valerie Thornton Life Membership Clock Valerie Clock Inscription

The following was the summary of Valerie’s exceptional membership that June presented at the AGM.

Life Membership Recognition

According to our Caloundra Family History Research Inc Constitution, Life Membership is bestowed on a member who has attained ten (10) or more years of continuous membership of the Association and has been of continuous good repute and performed over and above the normal duties of a good Member.  No one has done more for this organisation than Valerie Thornton.

Valerie joined the Caloundra Family History group on 16 March 2006.  That same year she was elected as Secretary, a position she occupied until 2009.  For the next two (2) years after stepping down as Secretary she held the reins as Vice President before taking on the role of President in 2011.  Valerie has held this position for an incredible nine (9) years with only one year off in 2013-2014.  So in total Valerie has been on the Executive Committee for 14 years.

I believe this makes Valerie a very special member who has given outstanding service for that entire period.  Apart from being our longest serving President ever, she has also spent her entire period of membership building our group to be one of the best family history societies in Queensland.  Our reputation in the genealogy world is well known by many other groups for our contributions towards promoting family history and also helping individuals and other groups.

Valerie has also held the positions of Project Officer and Grants Officer since 2013.  Under her excellent grasp of the English language, she has completed many applications which have achieved over $43,000 in grants.  This money has allowed us to offer our members and visitors the latest technology as well as the chance to do projects such as protecting our maps with special film and so much more.

Working dynamo

This woman is a working dynamo.  At the second State Conference which was held on the Gold Coast, Valerie put her hand up to host the third Conference in 2019 on the Sunshine Coast.  This was the largest undertaking of our group in its entire history.  It was a huge success made possible by Valerie’s leadership.  With Valerie leading the charge, a planning committee was formed, guest speakers invited, venues investigated, grants applied for, networking with so many people and so much more to make this the success it was.  The earnings from this conference to our group were well worth the effort but what an effort it was for all those involved.

Valerie has run many courses and demonstrations over the years.  Some of these included “Australian BMD Sites”, “Library Orientation”, “Free BMD UK & Freecen UK”, “Ryerson’s Index” to name a few.

Valerie has represented our group at History Queensland’s half-yearly meetings and their AGM.  She has been secretary of this group for a number of years, a position she recently stood for again and was accepted.  And why wouldn’t they accept someone of her calibre.

We would have missed out on a lot of funding if not for Valerie.  She has co-ordinated the sausage sizzles at Bunnings and cake stalls for many years.  As well as this, Valerie has organised prizes and tickets for raffles for Mothers and Fathers’ days on top of our huge yearly Christmas raffle where she has put in so much effort to encourage members to donate goods for the many hampers.

Without Valerie, our group would not be in the great financial state it is.  Her input into Policy Making and improvements to the Constitution makes us an extremely proficient and efficient organisation.

Because of all her hard work, we have become a vibrant and dynamic group ready to tackle the future head-on.

June Blackburn, Nominator

Memories of Valerie Volunteering and more

Loris & Valerie working on maps

President at 2005 birthday meeting

Valerie, President (LR) at 2015 birthday meeting.

Dot Whittington and Valerie Thornton July 2018

Dot Whittington and Valerie Thornton July 2018

Valerie, Dawn and Mark McArdle in 2019

Valerie, Dawn and Mark McArdle in 2019

Fisher Community Awards: Roz, Fran & Valerie L-R

2021 Fisher Community Awards: Roz, Fran & Valerie L-R