News & Events

Des in for the long haul

April 19, 2017

Des Nye may well have been at Leith Park longer than anyone else. After 32 years he knows everyone who lives and works there so he can easily find out!

Des joined the organisation as a gardener in 1985 but over the years he has done most jobs around the place. His job description has certainly changed and these days he still drives the Leith Park bus as well as a range of other jobs. In fact he is the jack-of-all-trades.

 

“Years ago I drove people everywhere because nobody had a car and the shops were further away. But now most residents have a car and the shopping centre is nearby so less bus runs are required giving me more time to do other tasks,” Des said.

 

Another of his jobs used to be lighting the Liscombe House lounge room fire first thing of a winters morning. He would come in before the residents at OCAV’s aged care facility had started their day and make sure the fire was roaring to keep them warm. Those days are gone and the fire has been replaced by efficient heating systems.

 

He joined the Leith Park team after seeing a job for a gardener advertised while he was on long-service from another job. The idea of working outdoors appealed to him, he applied and the rest is history.

 

“When I applied 32 years ago, no one I told about Leith Park had ever heard of the place. There were only 65 cottages and now there are 118 and the whole place has grown so much,” Des said. Despite the growth, people like Des have ensured a personal touch remains at the heart of OCAV’s operation.

 

“The residents become a bit like my family because I see them every day. When I drive the bus they talk to me and often tell me their problems because they might not see their families very often. In the early days when the place was much smaller, I took it really hard when a resident died because I had got to know them so well.”

 

Every working day is amongst the residents, mowing their lawns, cleaning gutters, emptying 50 bins each week, driving residents around the hilly village in Hillary the buggy, setting the hall up for events, helping in the office as well as playing Santa at annual celebrations. Like all jobs, it has its ‘ups and downs’ but Des is glad the job advertisement caught his eye 32 years ago.

 

“A lot of staff seem to hang around a long time. It’s a good place to be,” he said.

 

Des is 65 this year and though he has no plans to retire, his boyhood dream is becoming closer to a reality. For most of his childhood and young adult life Des wanted to be a train driver, but eyesight problems requiring glasses meant he couldn’t pass the strict entry tests. Still a train buff, he is a member at the Bellarine Railway at Queenscliff and hopes to become more involved once he retires. Who knows, he might become a train driver one day!

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