Gail Erskine has been named the 2021 Cronulla Senior of the Year, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to children’s literature in NSW.

Gail Erskine is passionate about giving children access to high-quality Australian literature, as well as opportunities to connect with the authors and illustrators they love. 

Whether in her professional life as a school teacher, or during the 30 years she’s been involved with the Children’s Book Council of Australia – NSW Branch, Gail has always sought ways to foster a love of reading among children and to encourage imaginative literary production.

Even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gail helped to ensure that children could be uplifted by online storytelling while they were in lockdown. Around 55,000 minutes of story time were presented as part of this Lunchtime Storytime program.

Gail’s energy, resilience and creativity are remarkable. Her fundamental belief in the transformative power of children’s writing has shaped her life’s work and inspired a love of reading among thousands of children.

The other finalists in the 2021 NSW Seniors Festival Local Achievement Awards were:

  • Joy Burns – Grays Point Public School volunteer
  • Reg Chirgwin OAM and Shirley Chirgwin OAM – Sutherland Hospital garden kiosk volunteers
  • Carolyn Davis – Kurnell photographer and volunteer
  • Rina Mandarano – Stella Maris volunteer

The NSW Seniors Festival, which reaches around 500,000 seniors each year, is the biggest festival of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

The NSW Seniors Festival runs from 13-24 April and gives seniors a broad variety of opportunities to build connections in their communities, to be active and to try new things.

It’s also a chance for all of us to acknowledge and celebrate the important contribution of seniors right across NSW.