Despite countless accolades for decades of work in the community, Elliminyt’s Gwen Huggins was “completely shocked” to receive the Polwarth Community Volunteer award this week.
Gwen, who will be 95 on Christmas Eve, received the award from Polwarth MP Richard Riordan in front of her family and a group of Colac’s older citizens at a morning tea on Wednesday.
Gwen said seeing her family sitting up the front of the room was a hint that something was going on.
“I was shocked, first of all I walked down to the end of the table and my daughter and her husband were there from Melbourne, and my other two daughters, so I almost burst into tears,” she said.
“’What’s going on here’ I was thinking, that was my first reaction.
“It’s amazing, it’s a wonderful surprise.”
Gwen said her work in the Colac district community started in the ‘50s.
“In the first place, my husband died as a 30-year-old and left me with two little girls, the eldest was four and the other was two, and we had a baby to be born, and I was milking cows,” she said.
“My husband, he died in 1952, so I milked 12 years on my own until I married George.
“In that time, I got into the tennis club and then in 1964 I joined the hall committee.
“After he died, I wasn’t playing then anyway, you can’t really when you’ve got little shortens,” Gwen said.
“But I used to go to badminton when it started in the Elliminyt Hall, so I used to take the girls, this was at night, and one would sleep on the front seat, one on the back seat and I’d make a little bed for the baby on the floor.
“That’s what I had to do, just to get back into the community.”
For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.