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Meet Sheila Budgen - Westfield Local Heroes 2021

Rites of passage

Spirit of Adventure Trust
Enthusiastic. Compassionate. Legendary

Sheila Budgen has been a much-loved volunteer crew member on the Spirit of Adventures Trust’s youth development sailing ship the Spirit of New Zealand for over 25 years, accumulating more than 1000 days at sea.

The seventy-six-year-old is affectionately known as Grandma and is regarded as a safe person to talk to onboard the ship.

She coaxes and encourages even the most disengaged teens to engage with the program and has helped many young people, from all sorts of backgrounds, steer towards a positive future after a life-changing voyage on the Spirit of New Zealand.

Involved with all activities on board, Sheila jumps into the ocean with the teens at 6.30 in the morning all year round for the mandatory resilience-building swim.

Some of the most magical moments for Sheila is watching the teens leave the voyage with leadership skills, self-confidence, the ability to work cooperatively and a better outlook on life.
Sheila is happy to be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero. “I’m always keen to raise awareness and financial support for the Spirt of Adventure Trust to get as many young people involved as possible. The value of these voyages is huge and changes so many lives,” she says.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. the Spirit of Adventure Trust will use its funds to cover the cost for more teens to join the 10-day youth development voyage.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here