Happy wanderer: Senior of the Year, Margaret Potter has a passion for exercise. Photo: CHIPPY RIVERA

Sporty senior receives top award

October 10, 2019 BY

WALKING, playing basketball, netball, squash, ten pin bowling and dancing…

There have been many strings to the racket of Margaret Potter’s life, and she added another this week.

During the launch of City of Ballarat’s Seniors Festival, Ms Potter has been named Senior of the Year, also winning the Healthy and Active Living Award.

As President of the Happy Wanderers walking group for over 60s, Ms Potter provides opportunities for retirees to be social and active.

Until the age of 65, she was a passionate basketballer, and in 1969 founded the Married Women’s Basketball Association.

She is a life member of the Ballarat Basketball Association, a qualified referee, has served on committees and supported the Lady Miners and youth teams behind the scenes.

Cr Belinda Coates, Dawn Fischer and City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Samantha McIntosh.

Ms Potter was Ballarat’s first female bus driver, has been the President of the Parents Without Partners Dance Club for 46 years, volunteered with Meals on Wheels for more than 20 years, and at the Base Hospital kiosk for seven.

Leading a busy, active life, Ms Potter was overwhelmed to receive her awards on Thursday afternoon.

“When you think of all the things that you’ve done, at the time it was always a pleasure, but you wonder how you fit it all in,” she said. “It’s a great honour to be chosen.

“As far as basketball is concerned, it’s the same as any sport, one you love it you’re just there all the time.”

She said becoming Ballarat’s first woman bus driver was an achievement.

“Somebody recognised that I would have been the most well-known woman in Ballarat, between so many schools. I just loved that,” Ms Potter said.

Dawn Fischer was the recipient of the Volunteering Award, having been President, Secretary, bulletin editor, and barbecue and catering chair at the Sebastopol and District Lions Club across 27 years.

She is Secretary to the Lions Club Cabinet, Secretary to the District Governor, was a big part of launching the new Alfredton Lions Club, is a Guides leader and is Treasurer of Sebastopol Senior Citizens.

Former SBS Radio Dutch Executive Producer and current Voice FM Ethnic Coordinator, Yvon Davis won the Diversity Award.

Ms Davis runs Intercultural Ambassadors’, and Voice’s social media accounts, presents Dutch news weekly, was a City of Ballarat multicultural ambassador, is currently an intercultural advisor for council and is a Harmony Fest organiser.

Cr Coates, Yvon Davis and Cr McIntosh.

As the author of Jann Vennik: the Dutchman at Eureka, her second book Mining, Mud and Medals is in production. She is an Intercultural Information Place volunteer at the Ballarat Library.

Cr Belinda Coates said Ballarat is fortunate to have so many “amazing” seniors contributing to the community.

“Social connections and community connections between people are one of the biggest predictors of wellbeing for people as they age, so to see them all contributing in such amazing ways is really heart-warming,” she said.

“Satisfaction continues to go up as we age. Getting older is a positive thing.”