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EDITORIAL: ‘Digger’ a community example

It takes a broad mix of individuals, with all their personalities, approaches and passions, to make regional communities tick.

Community movers and shakers come in various manifestations. 

They range from noisy and bombastic advocates more than willing to stand on a soapbox, to quiet achievers who are content in making things quietly happen in the background.

These people are special and incredibly valuable and often set hard-to-describe humanist benchmark treasures in our society.

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Paul ‘Digger’ Schwedes, who died on Sunday, was one of these great personalities.

Digger had his shortfalls, the same as anyone, but he possessed the only true attributes that really matter – a mighty heart and dedication to aspects of life that mattered to him. He worked hard and as a person, was a giant.

Anyone who played or followed cricket throughout much of the Wimmera through the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s would have been familiar with Digger.

A Horsham Cricket Association life-member, Hall of Fame member and Ellie Flack Award recipient, he deserved every accolade that came his way.

He was a wonderful ambassador for Horsham district cricket, its clubs, teams, and most importantly, its players. 

Most of all, he was a great bloke.

He was also good fun and as a young, raw reporter covering cricket, every Sunday morning poring over scores with Schwedesy during the summer cricket season was a delight.

Memories of the weekly walk in the front door of the ‘Soap Box’ business he operated in Horsham’s Darlot Street remain burnt in the brain.

A sharp ‘gudday digger’ always cut through the crisp and soapy floral scent of lavender in the air. Head down, tongue between his lips in concentration, he was always behind the counter, quickly scribbling something down in an effort to make my life easier.

You couldn’t help but be drawn into conversations about cricket, footy or whatever as a large 1954 VFL premiership poster of Schwedesy’s beloved Bulldogs stared down from its pride of place on the rear wall.

Through efforts to simply do his bit,  Schwedesy couldn’t help but become a significant and influential cog in what was a considerable regional sporting fraternity and organisation.

What you saw is what you got with Schwedesy. 

The generous heart the public saw was the same at home with his family where he poured his affection on his children and grandchildren.

He remained a stoic supporter of Horsham’s Homers club, put his hand up to endure the heat as a cricket umpire and his contributions at cricket presentations, always a mix of hilarity and passion, remains the stuff of Horsham cricket legend.

Paul Schwedes died peacefully at Wimmera Base Hospital after battling various debilitating illnesses. He was 81.

He is survived by his wife Bev, children Richard, Charisma Macchia and Zoe Elliot and nine grand-children.

A funeral service will be at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Horsham at 1.30pm, Friday.

The entire July 3, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!