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Mount Evelyn’s Roger Boness is encouraging seniors across the state to get active.

He won the Veteran Community Award at last year’s Victorian Senior of the Year Awards.

This year he’s promoting the Victorian Seniors Festival, which is returning for its 36th year from 7 to 14 October.

The event celebrates the one million-plus Victorians aged over 60 years who make a significant contribution to society.

It will include more than 2500 events and activities to bring older Victorians together.

Mr Boness improves the well-being of older and retired RSL members.

“I do a lot of hospital visits, and do lots of hands-on work, like putting in wheelchair ramps at people’s houses, cutting down dangerous trees, delivering wood or taking people shopping,” he said.

“Sometimes I just go and buy morning tea and sit with them.”

He was conscripted for national service in 1966 served in Vietnam.

He’s actively worked in his community to help veterans through the Mount Evelyn RSL.

“We’re a traditional sub-branch. We consider ourselves an important part of the community,” he said.

“We don’t have any poker machines, so we have to find revenue through other means.”

Mr Boness was active in building a memorial garden on the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail at Mount Evelyn.

He said up to 5000 people attended a dawn service there each year.

Serving others is a theme that runs throughout Mr Boness’ life.

He was heavily involved in the union movement, where he went from being a carpenter’s representative to becoming an Australian Workers Union organiser and working for the Community and Public Sector Union.

He said his drive to help others came from his mother.

“I’m just following her example. She was very active in the community,” he said.

His secret to living a good life is to live with purpose.

“Be organised. You’ve got to have an agenda,” he said.

“Get up in the morning knowing that you’ve got something to do. Stay active, and get out and do it.”

From learning about Facebook and how to communicate with loved ones online, to awakening the body and soul with belly dancing and tai chi, the Victorian Seniors Festival offers an opportunity to try something new in a positive and safe environment.

This year’s festival theme, Get Social, promotes inclusivity and diversity among older Victorians. Regardless of background, experience or mobility, everyone is encouraged to take part in the festival to learn new skills and make new friends.

Visit www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au, pick up a free Victorian Seniors Festival program at any Coles store, library, council office or neighbourhood house, or call 1300 797 210.

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