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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Pemulwuy retiree helping community grow

A love of gardening led 92-year-old Allity Pemulwuy Aged Care resident, Kevin Horne, to volunteer as founder of the Wentworthville Community Garden in his 80s.

In the 12 years since the garden was established, Kevin (pictured) has watched it flourish into a patch as diverse as the community it serves, taking out first prize at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show for 10 consecutive years.

Now, he shares the joy with fellow Pemulwuy residents who take regular bus trips to check on the garden’s progress.

“The garden now has about 150 members and represents 13 different cultural groups,” says Kevin.

“People grew things from their homeland – for example the Indian and Sri Lankan people grew Curry Tree and other herbs and spices as well.

“I grew a dozen broccoli, and we would all share our food together.

“A number of people even bring their children along to teach them how to grow food. They have the kids involved to plant tomatoes, water them and watch them grow. We all have a tremendous community spirit.”

Civic spirit, camaraderie and companionship have been catalysts behind Kevin’s lifelong commitment to working with the community.

He has worked as a Justice of the Peace, founding Computer Pals Holroyd program which taught senior citizens computer skills using Windows 98 and established a local Neighbourhood Watch Committee. 

“Community work is very rewarding,” Kevin said.

“I love helping people and the social interaction which goes along with it, plus I find it enjoying being with other people and to talk about things.”

He also has a love of sport and played for Parramatta Rugby Union and Homebush Rugby Leaguein the 1950s. Later, he formed a Seniors rugby club in the local area.

“I was the President of the club and everyone enjoyed the social atmosphere plus we relived the games after the match and life was great,” he said.

His advice to others is to “get involved.”

“People who are in reasonable health should try and help someone else and be there for people if they need a hand and give people encouragement and let them know we value them,” he said.

“Reach out and share friendship because it means so much.”

These days he continues to revel in community at Pemulwuy, part of the Bolton Clarke Group, and beyond.

“I participate in gentle exercises every day and I like bingo and ten pin bowling – the range of activities is great.”

“I have a lot of support from staff and love being able to stay connected with projects like the garden,” says Kevin.

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