OM:NI Diamond Creek Tenth Year Anniversary Celebration.

A Tenth year celebration of Diamond Creek OM:NI was held on 16th March at the recently refurbished Diamond Creek Netball Clubrooms, the venue of the Diamond Creek group since its inception.

About 50 guests attended, including members from the Nillumbik, Banyule and Whittlesea area groups, family members, the Mayer of Nillumbik, staff from Council On The Ageing, sponsors, and representatives from Nillumbik Council. Before the proceedings the audience was entertained by a band ‘Luna the Moon” an enthusiastic trio of young women who won the Young Creative Leaders award recently.

Daryl Morrow, one of the original members of the group facilitated the event, and opened by acknowledging the Wurundjeri People, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet, and paid respect to their Elders past and present. He thanked the local traders who have supported the group, including Mason White McDougal Real Estate, Reece Plumbing, Coles, Diamond Valley Hire, Valley Financial and Bendigo Bank. Daryl also thanked the Netball Centre for their assistance in supplying a venue for the group over a number of years.

The celebration then continued by various people telling their stories of their involvement with the group.

Michael Slaughter, Manager of Bendigo Bank congratulated the group on operating for ten years, stated how he has enjoyed the relationship and looked forward to an ongoing support.

Ken Ramplin, the originator of the group, spoke on the importance of OM:NI in engaging older men, particularly after their retirement. He gave a moving tribute to the group members who have passed away – Kelvin Kaires who was the respected elder of the group, Tom Hendry an original group member who was a keen traveler, Les Robertson the group’s bush poet, and NIck Grange, who started the Diamond Creek Group blog which contains the mens’ stories, and who with Ken came up with the idea of the Diamond Creek Regional Playspace Labyrinth and worked with the Nillumbik Council to enable its construction.

Tina Hogarth-Clarke, CEO of Council On The Ageing, presented a ten year certificate to the group. She stated the importance of OM:NI in supporting and bringing men together after their retirement. Even during the recent restrictions OM:NI managed to meet in various ways, principally via Zoom. She congratulated the achievement of the group in continuing for ten years. Karen Ivanka, also from Council On The Ageing, congratulated the group, saying how she has enjoyed supporting the group, and in general interacting with the now 28 Victorian groups.

Peter Perkins, Mayor of Nillumbik spoke on how he was first introduced to the idea of OM:NI groups at the launch ten years ago, and how he met with Ken from time to time on a park bench in the area. He acknowledged the work of Ken within the community and OM:NI, and paid tribute to Ken and NIck Grange’s work in getting the labyrinth going.

Anna Maio a council Officer from Nillumbik Shire Council was also acknowledged by Daryl for her assistance in obtaining grants and other help and encouragement to the group.

Representing Banyule group, Ken Young spoke, stating how he started in OM:NI in 2006, and has had an enjoyable time, meeting good blokes and making new friends.

Graham Gobey from Watsonia group spoke on how he has shared many life experiences over the years, but how sadly a few blokes have passed away, however their families always say good things about OM:NI. He was proud of how Diamond Creek group has lasted ten years.

Lindsay Clarke and Ian Sandham, representing Eltham spoke on how the Eltham Group has been going for nine years, Lindsay saying how OM:NI has given him increased confidence, Ian mentioned their new location at the footy clubrooms, and also thanked Diamond Creek Group for their support.

From the Hurstbridge group, Peter Clarke stated how OM:NI is the best kept secret, and how he is enjoying bringing OM:NI into other parts of the state, particularly in areas where there is a range of ethnic groups.

The final representative to speak on behalf of a group was Ken Ramplin. Ken told how his involvement with OM:NI began after a health issue when he retired. He started attending the Greensborough Goup. After about three years, he was challenged to start up a new Group in Diamond Creek.

After an exhaustive advertising campaign, a meeting was held to launch the new group on 15th March 2011. About fifty three people attended the launch and the new Group had its first meeting at Creek’s Cafe on 29th March. Ken then led a committee starting the Eltham Group, launched a year later with more than ninety people attending.

Two years later, another committee was formed to launch another Group in Hurstbridge, confirming Ken’s conviction that there were many men in the community needing this type of service. Since then, the groups in the Diamond Valley have disproved the notion that men don’t talk, all groups have great discussions on a wide range of topics.

The formal part of the proceedings finished with an old standing member, Jim Duncan, cutting a splendid ten year anniversary cake, which all present tasted together with an afternoon tea and socialising.

Thanks are also given to Darryl Morrow, for his excellent job of facilitating the celebration.

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