There are people we meet who quietly yet powerfully leave an indelible mark. I want to pay tribute to such a person in my community, Ken Dowling. Ken passed away last month after a long battle with cancer. I have known Ken and his partner, Chris, for many years, and worked with Ken in his capacity of the driver, the champion and ultimately the deliverer of the magnificent redevelopment of Montrose Recreation Reserve.
I recall getting an urgent call from Ken and meeting him at the old clubrooms and oval, which at the time was inundated with mud from heavy rain. Ken was determined to put things right, and he did. He worked tenaciously and with great skill on securing finances from the community and various levels of government, developing the master plan and overseeing the construction.
The result is a brilliant community playground, a redeveloped oval and clubrooms that are the envy of sporting clubs right across the region.
The recreation reserve is a jewel in the crown for Montrose, and without Ken it simply would not have happened. We are all indebted to him. Despite the pain of his illness, Ken was there when Montrose footy club finally won the premiership last. His decade-long dream was realised.
A few months later, just before Christmas, Chris let me know that Ken would not be with us much longer. I was able to spend some time with Ken and Chris in their home, and I am so grateful for that opportunity.
Ken was a loving husband, father and grandfather, a successful businessman, a traveller and adventurer, a person who loved his community of Montrose, a man of quiet faith and a friend.
Grace, courage, humour, determination and humbleness — that is what I will remember. Thank you, Ken. You made our little part of the world a much better place. Montrose will not forget you.