The Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined is back in 2021. The theme for this year – keep’n on – recognises the resilience of senior Victorians. From July to December, the Festival will present over 60 online events including music and dance performances, radio plays, curated conversations and comedy.
Visit Seniors online to find out more.
Celebrating Macedon Ranges Seniors
During this year’s Seniors Festival, Council celebrated some of our older residents who have made significant contributions to the Macedon Ranges.
Community members nominated older people who contributed to community groups, supported others during COVID, demonstrated active ageing or just pitched in and helped where it was needed.
The celebration boxes contained a custom cookie and a selection of other delicious goodies from local businesses. Council’s wonderful volunteers delivered the celebration boxes to recipients across the shire.
Find out more about the recipients below.
Rosemary Bain was recognised for her contribution to a community group. Rosemary volunteers as the President of RM Begg Auxiliary. We were told that ‘Rosemary works very hard and does a great job.
Normally, they raise $25,000 per year for the nursing home. Despite COVID lockdowns, last year they managed to raise $27,000 by doing COVID-safe stalls and garage sales.’
Don Clark was recognised for his contribution to a community group. Don has a life membership of the Country Fire Authority, which he joined after helping during the Ash Wednesday bushfires.
He helped establish the Riddells Creek Neighbourhood House in 2006 and was a member for many years. Don also established the Riddells Creek Men’s Shed and is the present Secretary.
Caroline Dyer was recognised for her contribution to a community group. We were told that ‘Caroline had been volunteering with Macedon Ranges Health Lifestyle Enhancement Program for five and a half years. She also has 10 grandchildren and is involved in a lot of activities.’
When her celebration box was delivered Caroline was pleasantly surprised and said she ‘gets lots of enjoyment and satisfaction from her volunteer work, especially helping young children in the classroom.’
Ailsa Howe was recognised for her contribution to a community group. We were told ‘Ailsa has a life time of community contribution from community nursing, SES, to political organisations, to a steadfast commitment to Lions. A person who has taken on the jobs and got stuck in.’
Ailsa has lived in Woodend for 41 years. She was in St John’s Ambulance for 22 years and with the SES for 23 years. Ailsa is currently a member of the Woodend Lions Club and active in the Liberal Party. When notified that she had been selected, Ailsa said ‘you can’t make a difference from the outside.’
Hanne Juul was recognised for her contribution to a community group. Hanne is the Secretary of Carlsruhe Progress Association and Carlsruhe Upper Campaspe Development & Protection Taskforce.
She volunteers at Friends of Kyneton Museum, Kyneton Tourist Information Centre and Country Fire Authority Carlsruhe. Hanne also looks after people's dogs while they are on holiday. When told about her nomination Hanne said ‘it’s nice to be recognised for a small task.’
Betty McClure was recognised for her contribution to a community group. We were told that ‘Betty has been so involved in the community all her life, she has tirelessly supported RM Begg for many, many, years. Betty is always the first to put her hand up to help anyone in need.
She is always smiling, always has time for a chat, and always asks are you OK? A beautiful, beautiful lady who has helped so many people!’ After receiving her box, Betty sent a thank-you letter saying ‘I have been lucky enough to be able to join in most activities that need a helping hand around our Shire because I live here. It is my way of giving back for all the wonderful years of belonging.’
Graeme McDiarmid was recognised for his contribution to a community group. Graeme is a member of the Macedon Ranges Amateur Radio Club. We were told that ‘he has had years of assisting our amateur radio club with communications in the area, and has helped us in months of lockdown to stay connected, always helpful.’ When told about his nomination Graeme was surprised and pleased.
He said that the club had been a good way to ‘communicate with many people to keep them occupied, entertained and feeling positive and uplifted during the pandemic.’
Ken Rose was recognised as a COVID champion. Throughout the COVID pandemic Ken has been a volunteer driver, assisting people to get to and from their medical appointments.
Last year he was working 5 days per week for many months despite the personal risk before vaccines became available. Ken’s response to his nomination was ‘I do it because I enjoy it, not because I want a reward!’
Kerri Ruff was recognised for her contribution to a community group. Kerri is a life member of several Netball Associations including Kyneton, where she introduced the Netta program (to introduce children to netball) and organised competitions for many years. She worked for 29 years at Sacred Heart Kyneton and is currently the Registrar at Academy of Mary Immaculate Fitzroy.
Kerri is also the Coordinator of the Preloved Pedlar Op Shop, where ‘she shares love and support for all especially the volunteers and the many needy.’ We were told about ‘her dedication to do her best and then something more…all without a thought of what else she could ever do for herself.’ Kerri sent a note saying ‘I thank the Council, the business contributors and the volunteers who delivered the boxes.’
Lorraine Vesty was recognised for how she demonstrates active ageing. Lorraine attends group fitness classes at a local fitness centre 3-4 days per week, as a way to keep fit and socialise with friends.
We were told that ‘Lorraine does not limit herself because of her age, she continues to lift moderate weights and wears a smile the whole way through.’ When we told Lorraine about her nomination, she said she had never had something like this happen to her before.
Hubert Weisrock was recognised for how he demonstrates active ageing. Hubert has led a walking and cycling group from the Woodend Neighbourhood House for over 10 years. Hubert keeps members of these groups updated with weekly emails showing the routes undertaken and photos taken on the walks and rides.
He is a keen photographer of flora and fauna and his photos have been published in the New Woodend Star and the Midland Express. Hubert also organises projects like picking up rubbish and garden maintenance around the Neighbourhood House.
Marj and Ray Williams
Marj and Ray Williams were recognised for their contribution to a community group. Marj and Ray are the President and Secretary of Kyneton Senior Citizens Club.
We were told that ‘together they keep the club running and during COVID have implemented a range of strategies to help keep in touch with members, attempt to address isolation and loneliness, and get members together wherever possible in a COVID-safe way. They are the mainstays of the club.’ When their box was delivered Ray said they felt ‘very humbled and grateful.’