Watermans Bay piano man receives recognition for 50 years service


Ron Hancock. Picture: Kate Leaver
Ron Hancock. Picture: Kate Leaver

WATERMANS Bay resident Ron Hancock struck a chord with the aged care community earning him a WA Volunteer Service Award for half a century of service.

For more than 50 years, Mr Hancock has played the piano to entertain Bethanie Aged Care residents and was presented with the award on International Volunteers Day last week.

Mr Hancock said both music and community work have been huge aspects in his life since an early age.

“My Christian faith allowed me to commit to helping people from an early age so that’s where it all started for me,” he said.

“The musical side just kept growing and growing and I joined a concert band at age 16 and played organ in churches.

“I’ve been involved in volunteering for many years never but never thought I’d receive an award for it.”

Mr Hancock said the elderly in the community had a lot to offer, but were sometimes overlooked.

“It’s not until you reach a certain age that you have the patience to sit down and listen to their stories and you can learn a lot from their experiences,” he said.

“I don’t just come and play and go home, my wife and I hang around talk to people and they become our friends; they have huge stories to tell.”

Mr Hancock said wartime tunes were a particular favourite, which left many residents nostalgic for a different time.

“I composed a nice melody that incorporated all their names in the lyrics of people in the village and they sing that each time I go,” he said.

Community Services Minister Paul Miles said WA received a benefit of $39 billion from the work put in by volunteers.

“Volunteering really makes us who we are as a community,” he said.

“It comes in many different shapes and forms; the list is endless so we need to make sure we thank our volunteers for the work they do.”

Mr Hancock was among a group of 10 volunteers who were honoured for their services at Government House including John Mellows (Dianella) for the Royal Association of Justices of WA, Kenneth Hall (Dianella) for the Royal Agricultural Society of WA and Joan Pope (Claremont) for UWA.

Mr Miles said more than 830 volunteers in Western Australia had received WA Volunteer Service Award since they were introduced in 2011.

The awards recognise volunteers who have provided 25 or more and 50 or more years of service to one organisation.

International Volunteer Day was designated by the United Nations in 1985 as an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism

Research conducted in 2014 by the Department of Local Government and Communities and Volunteering WA showed about 80 per cent of West Australians volunteered over the course of a year.