Norman “Norm” Phillips
Norman “Norm” Phillips

Gympie residents called to help celebrate Norm’s 100th

BELOVED Gympie resident Norman “Norm” Phillips is turning 100 on July 26 and Cooinda Aged Care Centre staff have thought of a clever way to celebrate while maintaining social distancing.

The team are asking members of the community to mail or deliver a birthday card for Norm, and are hoping to receive at least 100 cards to celebrate the milestone.

Clinical Care Coordinator Tracey Peterson said because of COVID-19 Norm can’t have the party that he deserves, so they thought it was a great way for the community to still celebrate with him.

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“Norm’s been a really important part of the Gympie community for so long and he’s given so much that it would be nice if people could give him something back,” she said.

“I think he’ll be quite excited by it, but he is visually impaired so if there’s embossed cards he’ll be able to feel it and we’ll be able to tell him all about it.”

The proud ANZAC will celebrate his 100th birthday in July.
The proud ANZAC will celebrate his 100th birthday in July.

Norm’s daughter, Jenny Nancarrow said it was a wonderful idea.

“They’re amazing there, he’s been there since 2016.”

She said Norm has lived in Gympie his whole life, after being born here in 1920, and enjoyed a long career at the Gympie Times, before becoming a marriage celebrant later in life.

In 1936, at 16, Norm followed in the footsteps of his father and started an apprenticeship as a linotype operator at the Gympie Times, he went on to work for almost 40 years.

Norm left Gympie for New Guinea in 1941, and became a signaller for the Australian Army in World War II. Picture: Jenny Nancarrow
Norm left Gympie for New Guinea in 1941, and became a signaller for the Australian Army in World War II. Picture: Jenny Nancarrow

Mrs Nancarrow said her father also served in World War II as a signaller in the 1st reinforcement of the 1st Independent Company in New Guinea.

“He took time off to go to war, but when he returned he returned to the paper,” she said.

“He went over in 1941, and he came back in 1945 just before the war ended, and he was also married later that year.

“Mum and dad were married 70 years, but mum passed away a few years ago at nearly 90,” she said.

Norm Phillips (third from left) and the Gympie Times Staff at the opening of the new building in 1952.
Norm Phillips (third from left) and the Gympie Times Staff at the opening of the new building in 1952.

Norm and his late wife, Jean, had Jenny and her older brother Bill, who sadly passed away at a young age.

He also has three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

After retiring from the Gympie Times in 1975, Norm became a marriage celebrant until 1991, when his eyesight deteriorated.

“He married a lot of couples, he really enjoyed it and he loved the weddings,” Mrs Nancarrow said.

Norm made friends and reached people around the world through his amateur radio hobby. Picture: Jenny Nancarrow
Norm made friends and reached people around the world through his amateur radio hobby. Picture: Jenny Nancarrow

“He also used to talk on the HAM radio overseas, like amateur radio.

“That was his hobby because he could do that even though he had no eyesight and he talked about everything, making friends all over the world.”

In 1996, he also published a book, My Highway of Life, a memoir detailing his army experiences, life after war, family life and the loss of his eyesight.

Gympie Times


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