Swan View couple awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia

 Bernadette and Russell Waugh of Swan View. Pic: David Baylis d493733d
Bernadette and Russell Waugh of Swan View. Pic: David Baylis d493733d

BERNADETTE and Russell Waugh say they owe a lot to their parents.

The Swan View couple, who have been married 54 years, have both been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Mr Waugh was awarded his medal for service to the community, which includes volunteering at the Medjugorje Centre, convening science experiments at schools and collecting gifts for St Vincent de Paul’s Christmas Appeal.

He said his Mum always taught him to give more than you take.

“My mother contracted an unusual form of cancer in her thigh when I was in primary school,” he said.

“She was in and out of hospital and my aunty often looked after us while Dad worked.

“One night my father came home late at night and got me out of bed.

“We sat on the back step and I could see the constellation of Orion otherwise known as the Saucepan.

“Dad started to cry. I had never seen him cry. He said that Mum’s leg had been amputated to save her life.”

Mr Waugh said when his Mum returned home she carried on with all the household duties as normal.

“Mum came home wearing two crutches and I remember her hopping around the kitchen setting the table and cooking, then cleaning,” he said.

“I owe my mum and dad a great deal and wish they were here today to see our OAM honour.”

Mrs Waugh was awarded her medal for service to librarianship, along with work as chair of a Christmas appeal and volunteer work at the Medjugorje Centre breakfast club and St Vincent de Paul Society call centre.

She said she also owed her parents a great deal.

“My dad Bernard Scott was a ship’s captain and a pilot in the Penang Pilot Company in 1941 when the Japanese invaded Malaysia and Singapore,” she said.

“Dad stayed to fight the Japanese while mum escaped on the ship Nellore to Perth with five children and pregnant with Bernadette.

“Dad was captured by the Japanese and then spent more than three years as a prisoner of war in Palembang, Sumatra and then in Changi, Singapore before being extradited to Perth in late 1945.

“Dad lost half of his weight and Mum hardly recognised him when he returned.”

Mrs Waugh said the first time she saw her Dad was when she was three-and-a-half years old.

“Mum and Dad were both good people and always encouraged me to achieve,” she said.

“Russ and I both owe our parents so much.”

Darlington resident and former DFES commissioner Wayne Gregson was awarded a Public Service Medal for his service to the community through emergency response organisations.

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