Bill Towns is one of Wee Waa’s favourite characters so it was only fitting that a special 86th birthday morning tea was prepared for him at The Whiddon Group’s Weeronga Hostel on Friday.

Mr Towns has experienced many things in his colourful life but a birthday celebration in COVID-19 lockdown was a first.

“I was able to FaceTime him with the three kids in the morning and he really enjoyed the cake,” said Mr Towns’ daughter Ann-Maree Galagher.

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“Also, it was good that his birthday was on a Friday because we knew he would be able to enjoy a beer at happy hour, they have happy hour every week.”

Like all aged-care facilities around Australia, Weeronga currently has strict restrictions on visitors due to concerns around the coronavirus.

It’s a difficult time for both residents and their relatives who dearly miss chatting, hugging and interacting with their loved ones.

“For me and the kids we do miss going up there to see them,” said Mrs Galagher.

“But the Weeronga team are very reassuring – they’ve been fabulous, sending us messages and photos.”

Mrs Galagher and her two brothers would normally visit their parents, Elaine and Bill Towns, at Weeronga on a regular basis.

“I would go two to three times a week and my brothers would go pretty much daily – there would always be someone going to see them.

“I also really enjoy seeing the other residents there too.”

Mrs Galagher said not being able to visit her parents was incredibly hard but stressed the importance of social distancing and protecting our most vulnerable.

And in these uncertain times it is invaluable to know that the Weeronga carers are looking after our older community members.

“They’ve been absolutely extraordinary.”

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