Roy Day has never stopped.
The dedicated volunteer and sporting great is a familiar face to many in Ballarat and Melbourne.
The 78-year-old has been helping others his whole life.
He continues his passion for service by using his talent to connect with others on his journey’s to Melbourne at least four days a week.
“I have been a volunteer from the start I think,” Mr Day said.
He has taken on various roles over the years, from coaching sport to volunteering with the CFA, but has spent the last five helping others in an unofficial capacity.
Nothing is pre-arranged for most of his days. Mr Day has found his place by simply beginning conversations with young people and finding a way he can help.
It all starts with a g’day mate, and they respond.- Roy Day
“I meet them every which way; in the cafes, in the food hall at Federation Square or at Southern Cross, on the trains and in the station. I ask what they are up to today and it goes from there.”
Mr Day has come to form strong bonds with the people he has met on his journeys to Melbourne, some he has met from all corners of the world.
He continues to meet regularly with a young girl and her family he met on the train five years ago.
“When I first met her she had just started at university. It was obvious to me that she needed help. Now she is doing her masters,” he said.
“I seem to be able to communicate easily with the young age group. They claim that I help them with their thinking process.
“I probably talk to 15 to 20 young people just at the Southern Cross Woolworths cafe.
They get to know me and what I do. I am just happy being able to help.- Roy Day
Mr Day also shares his extensive knowledge of history and art with visitors to the Melbourne Museum, National Gallery of Victoria, and the Australian Centre for Moving Images.
He wakes at 4am or 5am each morning to travel to Melbourne, an old habit he can’t shake from his childhood growing up on a Myrniong farm.
The death of his mother at a young age proved a tough start to life, as he was put at the Tally Ho Boys’ Training Farm from age three to six while his father worked for the war effort.
He was sent to boarding school at Ballarat at 12 and would go home to his fathers’ farm at Myrniong to milk the cows and hunt rabbits of a weekend.
After leaving secondary school at 14, Mr Day completed an apprenticeship in machining and tool making before taking on further studies at night school and going on to work at Norton Villiers, Firth Cleveland, and Ford.
Mr Day completed an arts degree while working full time at Ford in Geelong and playing as a star footballer.
Further study at teachers’ college in Toorak saw Mr Day become a secondary teacher. He taught in Ballarat, Horsham, and was asked to help the children affected by the Ash Wednesday fires in Colac due to his profound ability to connect with young people.
After an early retirement Mr Day became a top level Australian lawn bowler and went on to volunteer with wildlife in the outback.
Over time he has also volunteered with the CFA and rescued and trained border collies and kelpies.
Mr Day admits health problems will force him to cut back his activities, but helping in every way he can will always be in his nature.