Cyril keeps on giv­ing and giv­ing

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

When Cyril Bond ar­rived in Ararat from Eng­land al­most 60 years ago he had a sim­ple plan – to be in­volved with the com­mu­nity.

Cyril, now 93, still can’t say ‘no’ to lend­ing a hand and as part of Ararat Y’s Men he re­mains ded­i­cated to do­ing his bit for his home and its peo­ple.

“When I ar­rived here I just sim­ply wanted to be in it,” he said.

“We started off with dances and it grew from there.”

Ararat Y’s Men and the women’s Y’s Menettes are all but part of Ararat com­mu­nity fur­ni­ture, re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing decades of count­less hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice across the dis­trict.

The com­bined groups are per­haps these days best known for pre­sent­ing Ararat’s pop­u­lar an­nual Carols by Can­dle­light at Alexan­dra Gar­dens, but are also an in­te­gral part of oc­ca­sions rang­ing from school events and lit­tle High­land games.

The Menettes are also renowned for their run­ning of Ararat debu­tant balls.

Cyril, orig­i­nally from Hampshire, has seen it all un­fold be­fore him, hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced ev­ery of­fi­cial po­si­tion in the men’s club.

He had his first taste of Aus­tralia while vis­it­ing the coun­try with the Royal Navy and with his late wife Pamela seized an op­por­tu­nity when of­fered a spon­sor­ship in Ararat.

“I spent just over 35 years in Eng­land and the rest here,” he said.

Cyril has spent a life­time putting up his hand to help peo­ple and up un­til he was 85 was still pro­vid­ing driver ser­vices for peo­ple in need – in some cases for el­derly pas­sen­gers younger than him.

Cyril reg­u­larly meets for cof­fee with fel­low Y’s Men Joe Perry, 71, and John Glad­dis, 70, as much to have a chat as well as dis­cuss projects.

Mr Glad­dis said club mem­bers ath­let­ics to con­sid­ered Cyril the pa­tri­ar­chal grand­fa­ther fig­ure of the group.

“He pulls us into line ev­ery now and then,” he laughed.

“But in all se­ri­ous­ness, the amount of hours he has put into the Ararat com­mu­nity is amaz­ing and it’s im­por­tant we make peo­ple re­alise just how much work he’s done.”

Cyril fondly re­mem­bers the time when Ararat Y’s Men had a mem­ber­ship of about 60.

The group, which op­er­ates like a fam­ily, is now down to nine mem­bers with an av­er­age age of 70.

Mr Perry said the group was al­ways keen to wel­come new mem­bers and any­one in­ter­ested could call 0409 519 969 or 0408 521 329.

And Cyril, who has no plans to end his char­ity work any time soon, summed up his thoughts with: “Don’t be back­ward in com­ing for­ward. Get out and meet peo­ple and do some­thing for some­body else. Im­por­tantly, try to do some­thing good.”

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