Colette Mackay is one of those vital backroom people, not fussed with any recognition, just happy to do the job and do it well.
She's perhaps more well known as the wife of former Actew and ActewAGL chairman John Mackay. But Mrs Mackay is also a passionate advocate for Canberra and has been recognised as so in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Mrs Mackay, of Braddon, has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to the ACT community.
Her work has included inaugural secretary of the Friends of the National Arboretum Canberra and founder of its Harvest Group.
A breast cancer survivor herself, she also volunteered with Bosom Buddies, including visiting patients in hospital. She was also a long-time member of the Canberran Cancerians, helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research.
She went through her own hell with breast cancer in 2004.
"I felt I wanted to give back because I was a survivor and others weren't," she said. "You get back a lot more than you give."
She started as secretary of Friends of the National Arboretum in 2007. The Harvest Group tends to 170 fig trees, volunteers making jam to sell at stalls at the arboretum, as well as a market garden.
Mrs Mackay also started a program where people can sponsor a seat at the arboretum, in honour of a loved one. The seats provide comfort to many people as they sit and enjoy the vistas of the arboretum.
She and her husband also funded the Mununja the Butterfly garden at the arboretum, of which she says: "I'm proud of how it's developing".
Her husband initially roped her into helping out at the arboretum, 12 years ago.
"John came home and told me the Friends had just had their first meeting and they didn't have a secretary, so I was their secretary," she said.
Mrs Mackay, as always, was happy to help.
"Being the secretary to an organisation is not terribly exciting but being involved in the arboretum is extremely exciting," she said.
"I get a huge amount of satisfaction when I look at the arboretum and think, 'If I hadn't been here, maybe that seat or that garden might not be there'," she said.
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