Family support, always

Family support, always

Volunteering was instilled in Circular Head’s Citizen of the Year from a young age. 

Born and bred in Circular Head, and as a founding member of Circular Head Rural Youth, Jenny Poke played a part in creating a community for young people working on the land. 

It is through this group that Jenny met her husband Leighton Poke. Over the years, she took on the role of secretary at club and north west level, and was instrumental in the development and organising of Agfest. 

When children Alexander, now 23, Callum, 20, and Elyse, 17, came along, the next step for Jenny was to join the Smithton Primary School Parents and Friends, and later Smithton High School Association. 

Jenny dedicated 14 years to the primary school group where she held the roles of secretary and chairperson for some time. 

As Elyse started her high school years, Jenny received a Life Membership upon farewelling the primary school in 2014. 

In 2009, she was elected to the high school’s association and in 2014 she became chairperson, a role she held until retiring last year. 

Her commitment to the school community did not end at a committee level, with many hours dedicated to bringing musical productions to the stage by accompanying the band on keyboard. 

Jenny also volunteers her time, and musical talents, to the St Stephen’s Anglican Church and Stanley Combined Churches Christmas Carols. She is currently treasurer and synod representative for the local church. And for more than a decade, she has organised for the church to provide breakfast at the biennial Relay for Life events. 

Jenny has been involved in many sports including netball, badminton, softball and indoor cricket over the years though she has remained loyal to Robins Hockey Club for more than four decades now. 

She has played over 650 games for the club, and for this and her dedication to the club, she is a Life Member. Jenny is a committee member of many years to the Circular Head Hockey Association, where she has served as secretary and vice president. 

In recent months and in weeks to come, she has been busily preparing Circular Head Pony Club to host the Tasmanian State Eventing Championships at Tall Timbers in March. 

Among her volunteer roles, Jenny and Leighton also run Smithton Plant Nursery. 

“I followed in Mum and Dad’s footsteps from an early age,” she says of her various contributions. 

“Volunteering was instilled in me . . . We’re lucky here in that Circular Head offers a lot of volunteer work. 

“I don’t know about cities but living in small communities allows you to become more involved in community groups. That is what makes the community that we are.” 

Humbled by the honour, Jenny says the achievement is as much her family’s as it is hers. 

“I’m very lucky that I have Leighton, Alexander, Callum and Elyse because every working bee, meeting or event – they’re always there. This award is for us as a family.” 

Jenny Poke, with husband Leighton and children Elyse, Alexander and Callum, was awarded Circular Head Citizen of the Year at the Australia Day Awards on Friday. Picture: Ashleigh Force.