Tweed’s OAM recipients
A WAR veteran who witnessed the devastation of nuclear war and an administrator who devoted her life to Australian women’s hockey have been recognised with Order of Australia medals this Queen’s Birthday.
Bevan Christensen of Tweed Heads South and Marjorie “Faye” Wastell, received the news they would be awarded their medals at an upcoming ceremony for OAM recipients in Brisbane.
Mr Christensen was recognised for his role as a volunteer patient assistant at John Flynn Private Hospital since 2007, a volunteer pensions and welfare officer from 1984–2010, and for taking part in the Anzac Day service since 1994.
A life member of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta sub-branch RSL since 1989 and committee member from 2000–04, Mr Christensen signed up to the army as a 19-year-old in the engineers’ division and served his country for two years.
This included 10 months in Japan, shortly after America dropped nuclear bombs on the country.
“I was on the first boatload from Australia to go up to the atom bombs,” he said.
“It was devastation. I only seen Hiroshima, and what we had to do in Hiroshima I won’t repeat.
“I came home from there with a broken spine and I was told to get out and work.”
Mr Christensen said the experience drove him to help other veterans in claiming the pension.
He has helped hundreds of vets to fill out their pension forms, allowing them to secure payments including for widows.
“I always used to go for the top pension for everybody,” he said.
The 90-year-old was also recognised for volunteering to help patients at John Flynn Hospital, where his honour of an OAM will soon be celebrated.
“I feel like I’m on top of the world,” he said.
“We’re not celebrating until I get the medal, and I’ll be celebrating with my children and apparently they will be doing something special at the hospital for me too.”
Life member of the Brisbane Women’s Hockey Association Mrs Wastell has dedicated her entire life to administrating the sport, having started playing in primary school.
Among many roles, the 79-year-old served as association vice president in 1975, honorary secretary from 1977-1988 and president of the Ascot Women’s Hockey Club for 20 years.
“I was very surprised to be named an OAM,” she said.
“I don’t know what all the fuss is about because all I ever did was what I loved.
“Everybody I worked with were a really fun bunch of people, and I had so many friends.”
Hockey played an integral role for Mrs Wastell off the field too, with her children and grandchildren all playing the sport.
“My first daughter married a hockey man,” she said.
Mrs Wastell said one highlight from her hockey career was meeting Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.
“Prince Charles had told me that his brother Andrew played hockey,” she said.