Wing Patron turns 99

Mrs Ilma Adele Nicholson was born on 28 July 1920 in Sydney where her schooling and early working career took place. 

In 1941 Mrs Nicholson enlisted in the WAAAF which she served until 1944. After WW2, the WAAAF Association was formed  by the ladies who were part of this service.  Mrs Nicholson was a member for 32 years. She also served as President of the Ex-Servicewomen’s Association for 15 years. The trophies for NSW Girls’ Group’s Senior, Cadet and Junior Cadet of the Year bear the WAAAF emblem.

It was from her association with these organisations that Mrs Nicholson first became interested in the Australian Air League. 

Mrs Nicholson became an Associate Member of NSW Girls Group in early 1987 being assigned membership number W.11602 and in April the same year became Patron of NSW Girls Group. 

In October 1988, Mrs Nicholson was appointed to the position of Group Chairperson with the rank of Hon. Lieutenant Commissioner. 

In April 1990, NSW Girls Group formed a new Wing covering the Central Coast of NSW. The new Wing was named Ilma Nicholson Wing in her honour and she accepted the invitation to become the Wing Patron. 

The Australia Day Honours List of 2002 conferred the award of the Order of Australia Medal upon Mrs Nicholson for

“For service to the welfare of veterans and their families through the NSW Division of the RAAF Association and the Ex-Servicewomen’s Association and to young women through the NSW Girls Group of the Australian Air League.” 

Mrs Ilma Nicholson OAM 2002

In July 2008, the Australian Air League awarded Mrs Nicholson with Life Membership in recognition of her strong support of the Members of NSW Girls Group and Ilma Nicholson Wing through her roles as Group Patron and Ilma Nicholson Patron. 

Ilma instituted and sponsored the New South Wales Girls’ Group Annual Quite Achiever of the Year Award, personally setting the selection criteria. 

From the outset, Ilma’s “never-say-die” attitude and positive re-inforcement of the League’s aims and goals together with her unwavering support for the Officers and Cadets of NSW Girls Group served as a bench mark for achievement.

Until recent ill-health somewhat restricted her activities, Ilma was always present at the League’s events to “cheer her girls on”.

Mrs Nicholson continues to be kept abreast of the activities and achievements of NSW Group and her Wing and this year turns the grand age of 99. 

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