Ron is a Dune Care champion

RON Phillips doesn't mind a bit of manual work.

In fact, he says he would be lost without it - even at the age of 91.

Ron, from Ballina, is a volunteer with Angels Beach Dune Care and works three-and-a-half hours twice a week getting on to his knees to pull out weeds and replant native vegetation at the beach.

He's been a dune carer for about eight years, having retired to Ballina close to 10 years ago.

Ron grew up on a dairy farm at Newrybar, and was on the land his whole working life, as a dairy farmer himself mostly, with a brief sojourn into growing rainforest cabinet timbers.

He left his Coopers Shoot farm to come to Ballina.

While he admits the arthritis and some back problems have slowed him down a lot, his agility in getting down to pluck weeds out - and his eyesight in spotting them - is impressive.

He sees himself as "just plugging along".

But he agreed the manual work probably helps with his health.

Ron grew up in the era when many young people didn't finish school, and went to work instead.

He only did 18 months of high school, and said he has never been "an intellectual".

"But if haven't got something manual to do, I'm lost," he said.

And while he is physically able, he won't be giving him his dune care work.

He also is motivated by an environmental reason.

"I've always had a longing to see the old trees grow again," he said.

Mind you, Ron's week doesn't end when he clocks off from the dune care group after the Tuesday and Wednesday work.

He plays indoor bowls on Monday, has a regular shopping trip on Thursday, Bible study on Friday and church on Sunday.

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