By Justin Flynn
Neville Burrows’ unwavering support for young people has been recognised with an Order of Australia honour.
The 93-year-old Ocean Grover’s work with Scouts and the Uniting and Church of Christ churches was lauded on the Queen’s Birthday honours list.
Mr Burrows’ mother died when he was just three. He said the next five years “wasn’t a very happy time for me”.
Then he found Scouts.
“I joined the cub pack and it was a turning point for me – I was out with the boys and there was always a challenge there,” he said.
“Scouting for me was my life for the next 30 years.”
Mr Burrows found a career as a fitter and turner and worked at the Jam Factory in Melbourne, but found his calling with the church and helping young people find their way in life.
He founded the Rowville Uniting Church in 1982 and spent nine years there before being asked to the Ocean Grove Uniting Church where he spent 20 years.
Mr Burrows has been co-ordinator of the Men’s Breakfast group in Ocean Grove.
“It gives guys a chance to think about the deeper issues of life and where they fit in and be able to talk about their concerns,” he said.
He founded the Jigsaw Club in 1993, which now operates out of Drysdale because “it got too big for us in Ocean Grove”.
“We’d have five or six thousand jigsaws over there now,” he said.
Mr Burrows and his wife Joyce moved to Bellarine Peninsula Church of Christ in 2009, but Joyce died soon after.
They had three children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren,
But it is youth and the church that has fuelled Mr Burrows’ passion.
“If people are struggling there are a few things – what can I do to help them, what can I teach them, what relationship can they have with God that can be meaningful to them?” he said.
“It’s about people. I am what I am because of the people I have worked with.”
MEDAL (OAM) OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA IN THE GENERAL DIVISION
Mr Neville John Burrows
For service to the Uniting Church in Australia, and to the community.
Elder, Bellarine Church of Christ, 2009-2017.
Elder / Pastor, Ocean Grove Uniting Church, 1992-2009.
Youth Worker, Ashburton Uniting Church, 1984-1992.
Founder, Rowville Uniting Church, 1982-1992.
Interim Church Administrator / Pastor, Ashburton, 1981-1982.
Elder, Ashburton Methodist Church, 1968-1981.
Sunday School Superintendent, Ashburton Methodist Church, 1968.
Deacon, Congregational Church, Surrey Hills, circa 1960.
Sunday School Teacher, Congregational Church, Surrey Hills, circa 1950.
Mentor, Business/Pastors/General community, since 2005.
Member, Youth Charismatic Renewal, 1992-2005.
Coordinator, Neighbourhood Watch, Ocean Grove, 3 years, and Member, 3 years.
Coordinator, Men’s Breakfasts, since 2000.
Founder, The Jigsaw Club, since 1993.
Assistant Area Commissioner for Rover Scouts, East Suburban Area, 1965-1970.
District Commissioner, City of Camberwell, 1963-1965.
Rover Scout Section, Camberwell District Appointments, 1953-1963.
Rover Scout Leader, 1947-1953.
Scouting Medal of Merit for services to the Scout Movement, 1964.