HERO COUPLE: Don and Dell Limpus couldn’t wipe the smiles off their faces after being awarded the RFDS Local Hero Award.
HERO COUPLE: Don and Dell Limpus couldn’t wipe the smiles off their faces after being awarded the RFDS Local Hero Award. Allan Reinikka Rokarfdswin

Couple win hero award after spending past 51 years with RFDS

DON and Dell Limpus don't put in a lot of time and effort to get recognition.

In fact they'd much prefer to stay out of the spotlight.

But yesterday all eyes were on the local couple after they were awarded the Royal Flying Doctor Service 2016 Local Hero Awards by Capricornia MP Michelle Landry.

The couple, who are both members of the RFDS Rockhampton Auxiliary, were given the award for their consistent efforts in raising money each year and their committment to helping out the organisation.

Don and Dell, both 73, have been with the local auxiliary for the last 11 years but the RFDS has been part of their life for the last 51.

For the first seven years of their marriage, they lived and worked on Mornington Island where they depended on the medical services of the RFDS.

Don, a former motor mechanic on the island, used to light up the runways for the RFDS planes with kerosene lanterns so the planes could land.

"It was an isolated place, at that stage the only communication we had with the mainland was through two-way radios," he said.

"If we had an emergency there we would have to radio the RFDS and we'd have them there within two hours. The RFDS at that stage were conducting clinics, one up north from Mt Isa which included Mornington Island and one south of Mt Isa so they covered a big area and this is what a lot of people relied on.

"After we finished working full time and came to Rockhampton we started doing this as volunteers, more or less to pay back for something we received years ago."

And that's exactly what the couple have done as their fundraising efforts have seen thousands of dollars raised for the local auxiliary and service.

Dell said it was important to give back because they knew the work RFDS did and it was something they wanted to help with.

"We wanted to get into community work and it seemed logical to us," she said.

"We don't look for hero awards, we do it because we want to. We're only part of a team and that's how we look at it, if we didn't have the other members the work wouldn't get done so we're just part of a team.

"We do five morning tea events a year which raise in the vicinity of $3000 to $3500 per morning tea, two major raffles a year and from various donations. It's being known in the community, it's only with the community behind us that we can raise the funds we do."

When asked their secret to being such a successful team Del said it was because they gelled well.