Many people in Hornsby have had their day brightened by a friendly greeting from Bill Bradley as he passes on his mobility scooter. The 84-year-old community leader has been a quadriplegic since he contracted polio at fourteen and has been involved in volunteering for sixty-five years.
He is a proud founder of the Hornsby Connect drop-in centre, which opens every Wednesday and provides low-cost dry groceries as well as free fruit, vegetables and bread to more than one hundred people a week. It also has a café at which people can socialise and enjoy free treats. “I oversee the free fruit and veg section and meet and greet all the people coming through,” says Bill. “We make a point of talking to everyone because a lot of people don’t have anyone to talk to."

Inspirational, Friendly, Kind-hearted

We are like a family. We know a lot of the people by name.” Bill is grateful that the community supported the centre and voted him a Westfield Local Hero. “But the title hero doesn’t sit well with me because I consider myself just a spokesperson for a team of dedicated volunteers. I get a kick out of being a volunteer. This gives me a great feeling that there is nothing wrong with me and puts me on a level field with everybody else.”
Bill is a keen sportsman and a world champion Paralympic bowls player, as well as a father of two and a grandfather of four. “Sure, disabilities make it difficult or impossible to perform tasks that others take for granted,” he says. “But I am happy to note that not only have I overcome life’s challenges; I have truly succeeded.”
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Hornsby Connect will put its grant towards a new delivery van and to fund ongoing operational expenses. “We need a freezer truck so that we can pick up more food for the increasing number of people who are coming through,” says Bill.
Bill will be speaking at Wahroonga Rotary on Wednesday 23rd October 2019.