Celebrating Service & Smiles
With the Commonwealth Games fast approaching, there’s a myriad of reasons for excitement in the villages. For Bev Dyall from Port Phillip Village, the excitement is magnified tenfold.
Bev is overjoyed to have been selected as a Queen’s Baton bearer for her local segment of the relay in Altona, along the coast of Victoria.
Bev joins the ranks among 3,800 other lucky Aussies who will carry the baton across Australia – a group of outstanding people whose community contributions are to be recognised and celebrated on this special occasion.
She was nominated by her daughter, Linda, for her generous service as a volunteer bus driver for retirees for over 40 years of her life.
The whole Port Phillip Village is buzzing in anticipation before Bev’s big day on Saturday, February 10.
“When I found out, I nearly cried,” she said.
“There are so many residents that are going to come down and watch.”
Bev has been an active member of the village community for nearly 20 years, a full decade before she and partner Alan moved in. Starting in 2000, Bev would drive a busload full of Port Phillip village residents down to the local shopping centre twice a week, sharing many memories with residents over that time.
Before becoming a driver at Port Phillip Village, Bev used to steer the Williamstown Senior Centre members to the Saturday night dances too.
She continued to volunteer behind the wheel until a recent operation in 2016, at age 77, which marked the end of an incredible 40 years of service and smiles.
“I remember back when I first started driving here,” she recalled.
“The first time I drove through the front gate, don’t ask me why, but it made me feel welcome. I hadn’t even driven the bus with passengers in yet.v
Once I started driving the residents, that made it even better,” she said.
When the time came for Bev and Alan to sell their family home and downsize, there was no question in Bev’s mind that Port Phillip Village was the spot for her.
“I always knew that this was the village that I would like to come to. I never pestered Alan, I was determined to wait until he was ready”.
“It’s a beautiful place here, I love it. We’ve got parkland at our back door and nice neighbours too. We’re not in each other’s pockets but we can always go in and have a cuppa or have a yack,” she said.
Bev and Alan have booked two seats to see the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast so Bev can watch the Queen's Baton that she carried be opened and read out to the audience.
“The tickets were expensive, but it’s so lovely that Alan is going to take me. It’s great. He’s just as excited as I am.” she said.
The buzz in the whole community is electric- it’s an exiting time for everyone as the Queen's Baton relay presents an incredible opportunity to celebrate this local legend.
According to Bev, the wonderful memories themselves are enough reward to last a lifetime.
“There was always a lot of laughs while I was driving the bus. It was the best thing I ever did.”