Fiona Coote a ray of sunshine at the inaugural Health and Wellbeing Expo at Murrurundi

MURRURUNDI is certainly a fit community, if the inaugural Health and Wellbeing Expo is anything to go by.

A big crowd of locals, and a sprinkling of visitors, converged on the Murrurundi Bowling Club on Saturday to not only peruse the many stalls available, but hear from Australia’s youngest heart transplant recipient Fiona Coote at a special luncheon.

“I’m delighted to be here [today],” she said.

“Full credit must go to the Murrurundi Rotary Club, and in particular Col and Robin Stanford, for putting it all together.

“It’s an important aspect of everyone’s lives, our health and wellbeing.”

At just 14 years of age, Ms Coote suffered complications from viral-induced tonsillitis, which left her heart facing failure.

In April 1984, she became the nation’s youngest transplant recipient when Dr Vincent Chang operated at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.

Her body rejected the first heart – and she went in for another transplant in 1986.

Ms Coote has since gone on to live a fulfilling life that has been dedicated to serving others.

She was awarded the Order of Australia in 1999 and also received dual Paul Harris Fellowships for her community service and raising public awareness of heart disease.

Event organiser Col Stanford said it was a coup to have Ms Coote in attendance.

“We’re thrilled to have Fiona in Murrurundi,” he said.

“She’s such an inspirational woman.

“We’ve got more than 60 people booked in for the lunch – and about 14 or so exhibitors, including the Cancer Council, NSW Ambulance, SES, Murrurundi VRA, Eye Care, Hearing Australia, Dental Care, Podiatry, Pathology, Murrurundi Men’s Shed, Family Drug Support and TransCare.

“It’s all aimed at educating members of the community.

“Residents can receive information on looking after their health and having a more enjoyable life.

“We’ll see how this all goes [this weekend] but we’d like to make it an annual expo.”