Interview on ABC Radio with Roy Francis the recipient of the Victorian Senior of the Year Awards 2017.
Jacinta: Nominations are now open for the 2018 are you ready: Victorian Senior of the Year Awards. So if you know your mum or your dad or your grandparents or your neighbours or friends who are over 60 and have been legends giving their time up, giving their skills they support their community really well, now is the time.
And if you’re wondering the kind of quality of human that would win such an award, well we’ve got this perfect specimen for you. He was the recipient of the Senior of the Year Award last year and he’s our benchmark for greatness, welcome Roy Francis, good morning.
Roy: Thank you very much, that was lovely to hear that thanks.
Jacinta: I’ll send it to you as a copy. You can play that when you walk around town.
Roy: I most certainly will, I’ll have that framed thanks very much.
Jacinta: Now you began campaigning for Men’s health after being diagnosed with prostate cancer back in 2006. When you’ve gone through an illness like you have, what’s that moment in your life when you realise you’re the one that’s got to get off the couch to do something to help other people who are going through it?
Roy: Well certainly, that sharpens your awareness I can assure you, it’s something you can do without, but it certainly sharpens your awareness in relation, particularly in my case for men’s health, and I have a background in being able to talk through being sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry and have a wife with a degree in Advanced Nursing which is great support. So I found that on retirement, and having that happen and sharpened my awareness as I said, that I could go out and give presentations on health awareness, prostrate, depression, anxiety, beyondblue, cancer, cancer council Victoria, and I was able to do this and frankly I enjoyed it.
Sammy: So last year you won, and rightly so, the Victorian Senior of the Year Award, how does the process work for you? Who nominated you? And when did you find out?
Roy: I think somebody from one of the local support groups, or with a community centre. I don’t know who, but I believe it was somebody within a support group, as that I assisted in forming cancer support groups within Victoria, and the local one on the Mornington Peninsula where I live. So somebody within one of those support groups that did support me.
Jacinta: Now you went along to the Awards last year and you knew that you were up for an Award, but you had no idea that you were even, I think in running for the big one. What happened when your name got called out?
Roy: Well I was at the second row, they went along the row, and I didn’t count them off. I knew there were 15 of us. And obviously when they got to me I was the 15th and I was expecting them to go past me. I knew I was up for some award, there was a number of us in various areas, Multi-culturalism; Health and Active Living award; so there were a number of Awards; and when they got to me it was a great shock. Very pleasurable I might add, but it was a great shock, I thought they’d whizz past me and go round into the next row, they didn’t.
Sammy: Roy has your life changed after this? Can you take the Award into the “place name” and get a free meal?
Jactina: Yeah, do you get a tiara and a sash?
Roy: If only that was true. Mind you, it has given a lot of pleasure to the people and the organisations that I volunteer with. And that it’s the local community centre: Benton Square community centre, down here in Mornington, with the Bay’s hospital and with cancer council Victoria, where I am one of the community speakers and bowel screening champions to encourage people to send their bowel screening kit back. So what it has done for me really, is enabled me to say – promote – the people that I volunteer with, and it’s been a great thrill to see the pleasure it’s given them through receiving this Award.
Jacinta: Well a continued congratulations Roy Francis, you’re up to 867 health awareness presentations made across Victoria, you’re an incredible contributor and we’re very grateful for it.
If you’re interested in nominating someone for the Victorian Senior of the Year Awards it closes on Friday the 20th of July, and they’re going to be honoured at Government House later in the year. To nominate you go onto www.SeniorsOnline.vic.gov.au and someone like the wonderful Roy will be taking it out this year. Congratulations and thanks for joining us.
Roy: Thank you very much. I can certainly recommend nominating somebody because it’s a great thrill for me and gives enormous pleasure to the people that you volunteer with.