Locals receive senior honours

November 11, 2022 BY

Congratulations: Diana Collier was awarded the Healthy and Active Living gong in the 2022 Victorian Senior of the Year Awards. Photos: SUPPLIED

TWO of the city’s older residents were acknowledged as part of the 2022 Victorian Senior of the Year Awards.

Recently at Government House, Diana Collier and Beth Benbow took home the Healthy and Active Living award and a Council on the Ageing Senior Achiever award, respectively.

Ms Benbow has been a part of Bendigo Health’s Intensive Care Unit Auxiliary since it was established by her mother Iris in 1979.

She said it was “amazing” to be recognised for her contributions to community.

“It was an absolute honour not just to accept it at Government House but to meet the Governor and the Minister and all the other wonderful people there to receive awards,” she said.

“It was a unique day in my life and I was happy to share it with family. My beautiful mother started the initiative… and was very creative in her fundraising.

“I became more and more involved and had a real commitment to what she was doing. She showed me a path in life that would be so wonderful to walk and that’s what I’m doing.”

Ms Benbow’s efforts have included nationwide bus tours and making baked goods and crocheted items, providing more than $2 million for Bendigo Health alongside annual scholarships for critical care nursing.

Beth Benbow received a Council on the Ageing Senior Achiever Award.

Ms Collier has worked as an advocate for Bendigo’s Indigenous community since the 1970s and is an active committee member with both Bendigo Reconciliation and Bendigo NAIDOC.

Since then, she’s taught English to migrants and been involved with the conservation of Ironbark Gully, the Bendigo Indonesia Australia Klub, and the local U3A.

“I was completely and utterly surprised to win the award. I’m still getting used to the idea of it,” Ms Collier said.

“When I was growing up, we were confined by what we didn’t know… We don’t realise how much there is to learn about our early people.”