‘Dig­ger’ a com­mu­nity ex­am­ple

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

It takes a broad mix of in­di­vid­u­als, with all their per­son­al­i­ties, ap­proaches and pas­sions, to make re­gional com­mu­ni­ties tick.

Com­mu­nity movers and shak­ers come in var­i­ous man­i­fes­ta­tions.

They range from noisy and bom­bas­tic ad­vo­cates more than willing to stand on a soap­box, to quiet achiev­ers who are con­tent in mak­ing things qui­etly hap­pen in the back­ground.

These peo­ple are spe­cial and incredibly valu­able and of­ten set hard-to-de­scribe hu­man­ist bench­mark trea­sures in our so­ci­ety.

Paul ‘Dig­ger’ Sch­wedes, who died on Sun­day, was one of these great per­son­al­i­ties.

Dig­ger had his short­falls, the same as

any­one, but he pos­sessed the only true at­tributes that really mat­ter – a mighty heart and ded­i­ca­tion to aspects of life that mat­tered to him. He worked hard and as a per­son, was a gi­ant.

Any­one who played or fol­lowed cricket through­out much of the Wim­mera through the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s would have been fa­mil­iar with Dig­ger.

A Hor­sham Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion life-mem­ber, Hall of Fame mem­ber and Ellie Flack Award re­cip­i­ent, he de­served ev­ery ac­co­lade that came his way.

He was a won­der­ful am­bas­sador for Hor­sham dis­trict cricket, its clubs, teams, and most im­por­tantly, its play­ers.

Most of all, he was a great bloke.

He was also good fun and as a young, raw re­porter cov­er­ing cricket, ev­ery Sun­day morn­ing por­ing over scores with Sch­wedesy dur­ing the sum­mer cricket sea­son was a delight.

Memories of the weekly walk in the front door of the ‘Soap Box’ busi­ness he op­er­ated in Hor­sham’s Dar­lot Street re­main burnt in the brain.

A sharp ‘gud­day dig­ger’ al­ways cut through the crisp and soapy flo­ral scent of laven­der in the air. Head down, tongue be­tween his lips in con­cen­tra­tion, he was al­ways be­hind the counter, quickly scrib­bling something down in an ef­fort to make my life eas­ier.

You couldn’t help but be drawn into con­ver­sa­tions about cricket, footy or what­ever as a large 1954 VFL pre­mier­ship poster of Sch­wedesy’s beloved Bull­dogs stared down from its pride of place on the rear wall.

Through ef­forts to simply do his bit, Sch­wedesy couldn’t help but be­come a sig­nif­i­cant and in­flu­en­tial cog in what was a con­sid­er­able re­gional sport­ing fraternity and or­gan­i­sa­tion.

What you saw is what you got with Sch­wedesy.

The gen­er­ous heart the pub­lic saw was the same at home with his fam­ily where he poured his affection on his chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

He re­mained a stoic sup­porter of Hor­sham’s Homers club, put his hand up to en­dure the heat as a cricket um­pire and his con­tri­bu­tions at cricket pre­sen­ta­tions, al­ways a mix of hi­lar­ity and pas­sion, re­mains the stuff of Hor­sham cricket legend.

Paul Sch­wedes died peace­fully at Wim­mera Base Hospital after bat­tling var­i­ous de­bil­i­tat­ing ill­nesses. He was 81.

He is sur­vived by his wife Bev, chil­dren Richard, Charisma Mac­chia and Zoe El­liot and nine grand-chil­dren.

A fu­neral ser­vice will be at Holy Trin­ity Lutheran Church Hor­sham at 1.30pm, Fri­day.

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