A lifetime of giving

Ken Mansfield (Ivan Kemp) 286374_01

Matt Hewson

For 65 years 2021 Victoria Senior Achiever award-winner Ken Mansfield has worked tirelessly for the Highton and broader Geelong communities, and despite receiving various accolades for his contributions he remains humble about his accomplishments.

Mr Mansfield has participated in various community organisations such as Rotary for over 65 years, been involved in founding and supporting events such as the Barwon Banks fun run and the Pier to Pub swim at Lorne for over 40 years, raised money for charities by walking and riding the length and breadth of Australia, and walked the Kokoda Trail at age 70.

Last year Mr Mansfield received a council on the Ageing Victoria Senior Achiever award, and he encouraged people to consider nominating someone for this year’s awards.

“I did these things, sure, because it gave me satisfaction to make a contribution to the community, and I feel very fortunate to receive such recognition,” he said.

“But there are a lot of folks out there who have done a lot more than I have that have not been recognised for it.

“The thought of some of those people getting some recognition, it’s important.

“My wife, Shiela, for example, she should be recognised a lot more than me for the activities she’s undertaken. “

One of the contributions Mr Mansfield remembers most proudly was the Young Achievers, which he and the Rotary Club of Highton set up in the 1970s, and for his involvement in the program he received Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellowship.

“The Young Achievers was one of the most significant things I felt we accomplished,” he said.

“We took senior students from Belmont High School and helped them understand what business was about. We gave them business roles and a gave them responsibility for making, selling, and making something out of a product.

“And some of those young adults went on to start their own businesses, which was really satisfying from our point of view.

“We felt we’d made a real contribution to the future of our community.”

Mr Mansfield still maintains an active role in Rotary to this day, and is currently involved with a project to dismantle Geelong playgrounds and send them elsewhere in the world for use by other communities.

“The City of Geelong council thought that some playgrounds around the city needed to be removed and replaced with safer, more up-to-date ones,” he said.

“So we undertook to dismantle the playgrounds and have them sent overseas to countries such as Fiji, Sri Lanka, and Timor, where there were, and will be, reassembled.

“If they hadn’t gone there they would have been dumped in landfill around here, so it’s very satisfying to see those going overseas and being put to good purpose.”

Ken said he and his wife believed strongly about the values of community and family.

“It’s very important to us to do these things,” he said.

“We want to make sure we can build a strong family and a strong community. We want to pass these values on, and if these awards help to do that, I think that’s important.”

Nominations for the Victorian Senior of the Year awards are currently open and will close on Friday, July 29.