When you speak to the recipients of the Victorian Senior of the Year Awards one thing always comes up – they feel they get back more than they give.
With a long history, these annual awards honour the time, skills and support older Victorians have given to the community since turning 60, and take pride of place in the Victorian Seniors Festival.
With hundreds of people honoured, and many more nominated over the years, we'd like to introduce Roy Francis, a previous recipient to show how he embodies the spirit of the awards.
In 2017 Roy Francis from Mornington was the recipient of the Premier’s Award for Victorian Senior of the Year. Roy is an unassuming man, who through the course of his volunteering has given 900 presentations on health conditions such as cancer, stroke, depression and anxiety to more than 27,000 Victorians.
Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006, Roy subsequently became the first Prostate Awareness volunteer ambassador appointed by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia; formed the Mornington Peninsula prostate cancer support group; appointed Frankston Council’s bowel cancer community champion; became the first volunteer ambassador appointed by the National Stroke Foundation; and became a Beyondblue ambassador. And if that wasn’t enough, he is also very active elsewhere in his local community, volunteering at various sporting and active living groups, service clubs and community centres. Such as the Mornington National Seniors group, Mornington Croquet Cub and the Balnarring Picnic Racing Club.
Crediting his wife Helen as a great support and facilitator of his community work, Roy and Helen also co-chair the Men’s Health Group at the Bay’s hospital. As Roy lists his community work, you start to get a feel for his commitment to championing involvement in community life as a way of staying vital in both body and mind. ‘‘I think if you’ve got the opportunity to contribute then when you retire it’s amazing the number of things that you can actually do. Sometimes you have to be proactive, you have to look into these things. Like look up your local Council, go down to the library and see what you can do to volunteer when you’re a senior. If you think there’s nothing to do out there – it is stunning the actual number of things you can do,’’ says Roy.