Jack be nimble, Jack be tricked

January 08, 2018

Colourful character: Jack Stewart received his certificate for playing bowls at 90 years of age having played at Stanhope and now Echuca.

Jack Stewart has always had a wicked sense of humour.

The former Stanhope shearer, auctioneer, farmer and general good guy was recently presented with a certificate from Bowls Victoria to acknowledge his 90th birthday.

Stewart, who lives in Echuca these days, was kidded along to the Echuca Bowls Club one evening to receive the award on the pretence he was on the washing and drying up roster for the club’s Christmas function.

When he got there and announced he was ready to start work, he was ushered to a chair and told to sit down and take it easy.

Wondering what was going on, he soon found out.

The club’s vice president Eddie Smith summoned Stewart forward to receive a certificate.

He was still wondering what the fuss was all about as people started clapping and cheering.

‘‘I’m a bit hard of hearing and I didn’t quite know what the presentation exactly was for,’’ he said.

‘‘So I then started to wonder what I was going to say in my acceptance speech. It could have been a bit awkward.’’

In his acceptance Stewart fell back on an old favourite — a short poem he had devised in his younger days when butcher shops were plentiful in every town before the supermarkets wiped out many a livelihood in this profession.

‘‘Even Stanhope had two butchers in the early days and when I was auctioneer I got to know a lot of them personally,’’ he said.

After delivering his recital, Stewart’s response was applauded loudly. In fact, there were three encores.

And when he finally realised what the presentation to him was all about, he was most appreciative.

‘‘It was really nice they (Echuca Bowling Club) thought about me and set up the award,’’ he said.

‘‘I played a lot of bowls at Stanhope over the years, but because of work I wasn’t a regular every week.

‘‘When I retired and moved to Echuca to live in the early 2000s I played again — and in some lower division premiership teams with the club.

‘‘I don’t bowl any more now, but they were good times and you got to meet a lot of good people.’’

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