Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SI­MONE KER­WIN sker­win@ ne­me­dia.com.au

RU­RAL City of Wan­garatta mayor Ken Clarke will take part in a Blokes from the Bush fashion pa­rade on Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 9, as part of a two day con­fer­ence at the St Kilda Town Hall aimed at chal­leng­ing ageism and build­ing re­spect for older peo­ple.

And he may also lose his sig­na­ture mous­tache.

FEW peo­ple make their cat­walk de­but at the age of 82, but Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta mayor Ken Clarke is set to do just that on Oc­to­ber 9.

Cr Clarke has been en­ticed to take part in the two day Em­bolden con­fer­ence/fes­ti­val at St Kilda Town Hall, which will in­volve him hit­ting the run­way in the Blokes from the Bush fashion pa­rade.

The pa­rade aims to pay trib­ute to the flan­nelette shirt, and en­cour­age par­tic­i­pants to think about the at­ti­tudes that not only carry them through an ageist world and through tough times.

A se­ries of pho­to­graphs and a short movie will be pro­duced from the Bush Blokes Run­way, and shared on so­cial me­dia to reach older farm­ers who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­cul­ties re­lated to drought.

Cr Clarke, who has been the city’s mayor since 2016, in his sec- ond time on coun­cil after a stint in the 1980s, said he had en­coun­tered ageist at­ti­tudes as a com­mu­nity leader aged in his 80s.

“Peo­ple think you get to re­tire­ment age and you’re not ca­pa­ble of do­ing things – that is a prob­lem,” he said.

In spite of this, Cr Clarke said it was im­por­tant for older peo­ple to re­main in­volved in their com­mu­ni­ties.

“I think we can en­cour­age them to get in­volved, through our men’s sheds, our se­nior cit­i­zens clubs, and for those on the land, to en­sure they don’t spend all their time alone, but get out and en­joy them­selves,” he said.

“Events like dances, which they would have en­joyed when they were younger, are still held lo­cally, and there is al­ways some­thing go­ing on.

“I saw some­thing re­cently talk­ing about lone­li­ness in older peo­ple, and the fact that peo­ple don’t con­sider the im­por­tance of con­nec­tions, and older peo­ple hav­ing peo­ple call­ing on them and call­ing in.

“I see it quite of­ten that peo­ple in their 70s, and even younger, re­tire from em­ploy­ment and lose con­nec­tions.

“I went back to lo­cal govern­ment be­cause I was look­ing for some­thing to oc­cupy me, and I re­ally en­joy it.”

In fact, in pro­mo­tion for Em­bolden, Cr Clarke said “come 2020, I will need to think long and hard as to whether I stand again”.

“But if my health is still okay, look out, you younger ones,” he said.

PHOTO: Mel Guy

PHOTO: Mel Guy

RUN­WAY READY: Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta mayor Ken Clarke pre­pares for his cat­walk de­but with Maria Berry, a cu­ra­tor of the fashion show.

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