PAT BIGHAM AFSM
Pat Bigham has a long connection to land in Victoria, both through her work as a farmer and as a volunteer with the CFA (Country Fire Authority). She and her daughters Andrea and Kerri run a free-range poultry farm in the Yarra Valley, which was established in the 1940s by Pat’s mother-in-law Lil Bigham. In the 1990s, Pat and her husband Don, with Marven Poultry, started the first commercial free-range poultry farm in Victoria, which was the beginning of the Lilydale Free Range label.
Pat has been a passionate and committed volunteer at the CFA for nearly 40 years. When she joined the CFA she was one of the first female volunteers in her area; her district now has the highest number of female members in the state.
A member of the Gruyere brigade, Pat has served as a firefighter, communications officer, radio operator, secretary and treasurer.
After the Ash Wednesday res in 1983, Pat saw that firefighters and their families needed access to support when dealing with the traumatic events that they had experienced. Together with her colleagues she established a welfare program that is now known as the CFA’s Peer Support Program. Pat is still involved in the training of peer support workers for the program, which is now available in every CFA district throughout Victoria.
In 2008 Pat was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in recognition of her outstanding service to her community, brigade and the CFA. She was recently made a life member of the CFA and was inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in March 2017.