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News OSH News UnionsWA congratulates Helen Fitzroy – WA Local Hero of the Year
UnionsWA congratulates Helen Fitzroy – WA Local Hero of the Year

UnionsWA congratulates mining & safety campaigner Helen Fitzroy on being named WA Local Hero of the Year.

When Helen's husband Steve died in an underground mining accident 20 years ago, she was left with three young children and virtually no formal support.  Today, families of miners have a scheme to back them up. Thanks to Helen’s unstinting determination,  Miners’ Promise was born in 2010 and Helen continues her passionate advocacy on behalf of miners and their families as deputy chair of the board.

Helen spent years fighting for financial assistance and compensation after her hisband's death and said she felt very isolated.

"I found the quagmires of bureaucratic processes were overwhelmingly difficult and information was scarce."

She was inspired to set up Miners' Promise last year when she met other families of mine accident victims, who were also in need of support.

"It alarmed me hugely that very little had changed, which was really the driving force behind me doing something about that."

"There are many gaps in terms of the support that's offered to families and I feel very passionate about making sure that the support that we provide through Miners Promise adequately meets families' needs."

"It's based on the principle that you help your mates. So while nothing may happen to you it could be that you are assisting somebody else's family."

Since launching in July last year the organisation has already assisted four families who have lost a relative in a mining accident.

"Each of those families has been able to have somebody there to act as an advocate for them, and support them."

Helen is now a finalist in the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2012 in Canberra.

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