50-years of hits and giggles

IN the aftermath of the devastating 1957 bushfires, at a small kitchen tea event, three local women made the commitment to get together every Wednesday for a game of social badminton.

Little did Audrey Madden, Barbara Barker and Janet Brundle know at the time that their spontaneous decision to get out of the house would soon turn into something much more.

“Companionship, camaraderie – call it what you like,” Ms Madden said.

“Playing badminton together was a perfect way to get us out and about and socialising.

“But it’s never been about the competition for us, nobody is trying to win.

“It’s all about having fun and enjoying a social game between good friends.

“At first, we took our young children along and then before we knew it, we were grandparents and then great-grandparents.”

Fast-forward to present day and the trio has been playing together for 50-years – and is still going strong.

No small feat for a group of women aged in their 70s and 80s.

Ms Barker, the group’s oldest member at 86-years-of-age, said they were not exactly A grade players.

“Or B or C grade for that matter. We’re not even Z grade, but we are the Hit and Giggle Brigade,” she said.

“We may not have improved much in the past 50-years, but looking on the bright side, I don’t think we’ve gotten any worse either.”

Ms Brundle said laughter was the key that had kept them together, alive and strong for 50-years.

“We used to have a hit and giggle and now it’s turned into more of a miss and giggle – but we get the giggle and that’s the most important part,” she said.

“It’s so important to have something to get you out of the house, especially at our age when we no longer have young children or teenagers to keep us busy.

“And it must work, because look at us now – we’re still healthy, happy and doing things instead of sitting at home in a chair.”

And laughter must indeed be contagious, as the group has now grown to 14 members, who continue to meet every Wednesday at the Risdon Vale Community Hall for a round robin game of badminton.

“Hopefully our newest members, who are much younger, will carry on the baton and keep the group going,” Ms Madden said.

“And, who knows, maybe they’ll still be here in another 50-years, even if we won’t.”

Caption: Local ladies, from left, Janet Brundle, Barbara Barker and Audrey Madden have been playing badminton together for 50-years. Photo credit: Remi Chauvin.