Many Coffs Harbour locals will remember Leanne Neal by her maiden name Amos.
Many Coffs Harbour locals will remember Leanne Neal by her maiden name Amos.

OAM for one of the Amos clan

Coffs Harbour will always be home for OAM recipient Leanne Neal.

She grew up in Coffs Harbour, attended Jetty High, and her family have lived here for generations.

Many will remember her by her maiden name: Amos.

Her proud brother and Coffs Harbour City Councillor Paul Amos shared the news with the Advocate.

She also has a sister, Julie Black, who operates an electrical business with her husband.

Leanne returned to Coffs Harbour over the long weekend and surprised her family with the news on Monday morning while they were having coffee at the cart along the Jetty foreshore near the northwall.

"Because of social distancing it was a good place to be out in the open and I asked ten of us along.

"So I told them all on Monday morning as we were standing around on the grass having coffee in the sun so my brother said he would shout us all out to lunch."

Mum Joy Amos describes Leanne as a "bit of a dark horse".

Her proud brother and Coffs Harbour Councillor Paul Amos shared the news with the Advocate. Photo: Trevor Veale
Her proud brother and Coffs Harbour Councillor Paul Amos shared the news with the Advocate. Photo: Trevor Veale

She now lives in Riverview, Sydney, with her husband and three children Tom (30), Emily (27) and Sam (25) but returns for holidays every year.

She recently returned for her 40th school reunion.

Her OAM is for services to'youth and nursing'.

She manages the Health Centre at Saint Ignatius College Riverview; in charge of six other nurses.

"I thought when I started it would be mostly bandaids and panadol but it worked out completeley different," Leanne said.

"I didn't even know school nurses existed. It was a fill-in temp position in the early 90s and I've been there ever since. It's taken me on many paths I never thought I would go."

She holds qualifications in Midwifery and Coronary Care and has worked at numerous hospitals throughout Sydney including The Royal North Shore, The Royal Prince Alfred, St Vincent's and St George.

She played a significant role in establishing the first Sony Children's Holiday Camp and has supported and advised in the development of the Sony Foundation Children's program nationally over the past 20 years.

Joy, who still lives in Coffs Harbour and also attended Jetty High, would regularly look after Leanne's children so she could run the camps.

"Without mum coming down each year I couldn't have done it."

Leanne returned to Coffs Harbour recently for her 40th school reunion.
Leanne returned to Coffs Harbour recently for her 40th school reunion.

Other achievements

She was a Director on the Sony Foundation Board since 2012, a member of the Australian College of Nursing, holds the Distinguished Nursing Service award bestowed by the NSW Institute of Nursing Unit Managers and received the highest honour St Ignatius College Riverview can confer on a member of the Riverview community: the Insignis Award.

She has been a past secretary and member of the NSW School Nurses Association since 1991, where she initiated and worked on a variety of projects including co-editing three editions of the National Guidelines for School Nurses, working in collaboration with the NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health and most recently the revision of the National School Nursing Professional Practice Standards.