By Luke Voogt
If Jan Synot has helped save “one child, two children or three from being abused”, then establishing Bravehearts in Geelong has been worthwhile.
The charity’s Victorian arm, which Mrs Synot helped found in Newtown in 2010, has likely helped hundreds of local children.
That, along with raising money for Grace McKellar Centre, Geelong Cancerians and Geelong Community Foundation, earned her an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) on Monday.
“It’s blown me away,” she said.
She also won recognition for several decades with Geelong Badminton Club, painting porcelain and nurturing local artists.
She and husband Ross were on the Victorian team that won gold at the 1998 Badminton World Masters Games in Portland, USA.
“The only reason I stopped playing is because I had a hip replacement – badminton probably wore me out,” she said.
A painter since childhood, Mrs Synot “lived the dream” running the Art Is. Studio and Gallery for 12 years ending in 2019.
She helped many artists, some with “no confidence in their abilities”, find their style.
She joins husband Ross as an OAM, which he received in 2015.
“I thought one per household was pretty good. Here we are with two,” she said.
Mrs Synot is a long-time member of Christian charitable organisation the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller.
She also helped establish the Geelong Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Support Group.