Couple honoured with OAMs

THE Hallams are ‘astonished’, ‘amazed’ and ‘astounded’ to be awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for their work with refugee families.

Peter and Susan Hallam are committed to helping refugees settle into new communities on the Coffs Coast.

Their passion was first realised in Mexico where they spent time with a priest who was sheltering Salvadoran refugees.

This was the catalyst for the Sanctuary Australia Foundation in 1988.

The scope of their tireless efforts spans two decades and is reflected in the 12 centres they have established Australia-wide.

Today the couple concentrates on administration, placement and sponsorship from their centre in Coffs Harbour.

Mr Hallam said recognition should extend to the network of people working for this cause.

“It is amazing to receive that kind of honour but we were not alone and have people working in centres all over Australia,” he said. “This award is for them too because it has been a collective effort.”

Mrs Hallam said the foundation kept growing and hoped it would one day be an international organisation.

“I feel so blessed and I hope this award brings even more support so we can spread across the country because there are so many communities who want to help refugees,” she said.

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