Cyril keeps on giving and giving
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.”