So many strings to her bow

February 2, 2024 BY

Chris Hollingsworth has a lot of strings to her bow – artist, actress, cook, musician, seamstress, gardener – and she uses every one of her skills to make Millicent a better place to live, securing her the 2024 Citizen of the Year (Corcoran Ward).

This year’s honour is just reward for someone who has spent a lifetime volunteering.

“My passion probably came from my dad, he was involved in community groups to do with his particular interests,” Chris (pictured with Dion, Chieu and Jordan) said.

“I like to keep busy and since retiring have committed more time to serving the community.

“I enjoy working with others to achieve a goal and find it very rewarding.

“I love the interaction with clients when I drop off meals for Meals on Wheels and Share a Plate is also very rewarding especially when you are thanked and appreciated by those who are doing it tough.

“My involvement with Imagine Millicent has been a very enjoyable experience, I love anything to do with the arts and theatre and being involved in this group has allowed me to continue in the arts.

“When you look around Millicent and see the amazing artworks and the effect it has on people’s wellbeing it makes it all worthwhile.”

And Imagine Millicent is the group that takes up much of her time at the moment.

“We are a self-funded group and I apply for grants when a major project is being considered,” Chris said. “I have been actively involved with all our fundraising, creating posters and tickets for events and selling raffle tickets as well as taking minutes at our group meetings.

“I also provide accommodation and meals to the visiting artists so that they enjoy their stay in the area. I manage the Imagine Millicent Facebook page keeping everyone informed of upcoming events.”

Her artistic passion also evident in her role as coordinator of Murder at the Museum – the annual Millicent National Trust Museum fundraiser.

“I have been involved as a cast member since its inception however over the past three years, I have been involved as a script writer and producer as well as a cast member and I create the posters and tickets, organise cast and costumes for participants and any props as required,” she said.

Music is also a huge part of her life and she has been a member of the Beachport Ukelele Group for more than seven years and she regularly contributed her paintings to local exhibitions and competition.

But it is acting that has been front and centre and she is a life member of the Millicent Company of Seven Theatre Group, joining in 1976 and receiving that life membership in 1999 at the company’s 50th anniversary.

She has acted as company historian, held numerous executive roles and been chief costume designer and creator.

Her charitable pursuits include opening her garden for fundraising events for Imagine Millicent and the RFDS; her role as team leader at Millicent Shares A Plate, where her group prepares meals every five weeks, as well as her volunteer role with Meals on Wheels.

While Chris wouldn’t expect everyone to take on as much as she has, she cannot recommend the value of volunteering highly enough.

“I would thoroughly recommend getting involved in the community to others,” she said. “You get the opportunity to make friends and meet lots of interesting people from all walks of life. You also get the opportunity to make your community better as well as make someone feel valued and worthwhile.”