Pair hooked on helping people with disabilities

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Dave and Beverley Broom recover from the surprise of being announced winners of the inaugural Patrons Award.
Camera IconDave and Beverley Broom recover from the surprise of being announced winners of the inaugural Patrons Award. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian

Dave and Beverley Broom help people with disabilities learn how to fish.

For the married couple of 53 years, it’s not uncharted waters.

Mr Broom has a 15-year history as a volunteer fisheries liaison officer, while his wife volunteered for Horsepower Australia, formerly known as Riding for the Disabled.

The Woorree couple have been part of Fishability Geraldton since its start but play down their importance to the team.

“What we really do is just assist people who know what they’re doing,” Mr Broom, 79, said.

Program co-ordinator Peter Stratford couldn’t disagree more.

Without them, Mr Stratford said, the program would not be as successful as it is.

“Beverley and David always attend the program, rain, hail or sunshine,” he said.

“Beverley chops all our bait and David does the rounds with the participants, instructing how to cast, baiting hooks, removing fish from hooks ...”

To remind the Brooms of their value to the team, Mr Stratford called a special lunch and handed the unsuspecting couple Fishability’s inaugural Patron’s Unsung Hero Award.

Surprised at the reward for their effort and enthusiasm, the Brooms said simply “it’s just good to be doing something”.

“A kid catches a fish and they go ballistic,” Mr Broom said.

“Yes, the look on their faces, I tell you,” Mrs Broom, 72, added.

The Brooms help people fish off the Batavia Marina boardwalk once a month, near Geraldton Museum.

Mr Stratford said at their last session nearly 60 people assembled at the boardwalk.

The rise in demand has prompted he and colleague Chris Wilson to consider whether to host two sessions a month next year.

Mr Stratford said there was no financial gain to volunteering, just the reward of lending a helping hand.

Mr Broom agreed.

“You can’t crack the whip to get more volunteers,” Mr Broom said.

“But if you can help, help.”

To volunteer at Fishability Geraldton contact Chris Wilson on 0400 993 764 or Peter Stratford on 0407 983 634.

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