by Jonno Colfs
CELEBRATING Jim Charleston's 10 years as a volunteer at Killarney Memorial Aged Care seemed like the perfect opportunity to throw a surprise party.
Yesterday at 10am, residents, staff and friends packed the aged care facility to say thanks for a job well done.
It worked, with Mr Charleston stunned at the show of gratitude.
"It sure was a surprise,” Mr Charleston said.
"It's floored me.
"It's fantastic that they've done this for me but I just love doing it.”
Mr Charleston, a former newspaper compositor, moved to Killarney with wife Rachel 10 years ago, and almost immediately began volunteering around town.
"Someone found out I held a bus license and asked me if I'd come and help out.
"Volunteering is a great lifestyle,” he said.
"I've had the chance to meet so many wonderful people and make so many friends.
"We're all like one big family here.”
Several times a week, Mr Charleston will drive residents to medical appointments, even as far as Brisbane and Toowoomba.
He also takes them shopping, to events, funerals and of course there are his famous mystery bus trips.
"I tell the residents that only myself and Batman know where we're headed,” he said.
"We go to Queen Mary Falls, Mt Tabor, the Acacia Plateau, all the nice places where there's plenty to see.”
Killarney Memorial Aged Care Lifestyle co-ordinator Skye Brisotto said Mr Charleston didn't ever expect anything in return.
"He's such a selfless and wonderful man,” she said.
"It's great to be able to do this for him.
Manager Anne Hickey said the facility relied on volunteers.
"They are essential to us. We really couldn't do all we do without amazing people like Jim,” she said.