‘All you need is a good laugh’

No age limit ap­plies when spread­ing hap­pi­ness around

Maroochy Weekly - - LIFE - Jor­gia White jor­gia.white@sc­news.com.au

SPREAD­ING smiles, laugh­ter and hap­pi­ness is in Ge­orge Farmer’s DNA.

At 70 years old, the Lit­tle Moun­tain res­i­dent bet­ter known as “Rocco” still lives a very full life and has no plans of slow­ing down any­time soon.

The pres­i­dent of Coastal Car­ing Clowns has un­doubt­edly had a big im­pact on the lives of many, which is ev­i­dent by his re­cent recog­ni­tion as 2017 Se­nior Cit­i­zen of the Year in the Coun­cil’s awards.

Mr Farmer said aged care was a big part of what drove him to be a part of the vol­un­teer group.

“I started work­ing in aged care and I found out laugh­ter was very help­ful for peo­ple with de­men­tia,” he said.

He con­tin­ues to work part-time in aged care while also car­ry­ing out his pres­i­den­tial Car­ing Clowns com­mit­ments.

“I en­joy what I do,” he said.

“I think do­ing the vol­un­teer work and be­ing in­volved in other peo­ple’s lives keeps me young.”

Mr Farmer has been in­volved in the group since 2001.

“There was a work­shop of clown­ing and I wanted to get in­volved,” he said.

“I’ve been on the com­mit­tee be­fore and now I’m in my third year of pres­i­dency.

“Now I’m clown­ing nearly ev­ery day in a week.”

Coastal Car­ing Clowns has been an in­sti­tu­tion in hap­pi­ness on the Coast for more than 16 years, with time mainly spent at Nam­bour Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

A few months ago the clowns were given the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand the feel-good ser­vice by work­ing their magic at the Sun­shine Coast Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal.

“Peo­ple are not al­ways in very good sit­u­a­tions, but in that mo­ment it’s like a win­dow opens and they’re not sick any­more,” Mr Farmer said.

“It also helps the heal­ing process for many pa­tients.

“It is very re­ward­ing – you can share your car­ing in a very colour­ful way.”

Af­ter years of hard work, Mr Farmer is your av­er­age quiet achiever.

This year he was hon­oured when two fel­low Car­ing Clowns nom­i­nated him as Se­nior Cit­i­zen of the Year.

“A lady who worked with us thought she would pro­pose me,” he said.

“I only learnt about it when the coun­cil emailed me to ask if I’d ac­cept the nom­i­na­tion.”

Much to Mr Farmer’s sur­prise, he won the cov­eted award.

“It’s over­whelm­ing when you see so many peo­ple along­side you who do such good work in the com­mu­nity,” he said.

“Our com­mu­nity was won­der­ful.

“Peo­ple who don’t even know me came up to con­grat­u­late me.

“It drives me to do even more and do even bet­ter.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, email coastal­car­ing­clowns@west­net.com.au.

❝ Vol­un­teer work and be­ing in­volved in other peo­ple’s lives keeps me young. — Ge­orge Farmer

PHOTO: PA­TRICK WOODS

HAPPY DAYS: Ge­orge Farmer of Coastal Car­ing Clowns em­braces life.

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