Richard Saxby on his work with Men's Shed

Beard and bonfire: Richard at a bonfire last week, enjoying the tranquility while admiring the spectacular view. Photo: Supplied.

Beard and bonfire: Richard at a bonfire last week, enjoying the tranquility while admiring the spectacular view. Photo: Supplied.

For many members of the community, being mostly deaf, 86 years old, and having a dodgy heart would be reason enough to slow down. 

However, Yass resident Richard Saxby has decided that he will not stop taking part in the community, despite his numerous health impediments. 

Mr Saxby spends a lot of time working with the Yass branch of Men’s Shed, particularly with some of the disadvantaged youths around town who come and seek guidance. 

This, explains a close friend of Richard’s, is due to an enormous sense of duty to those less fortunate that Richard carries with him. 

“Richard feels for these sort of people, you know,” he said. “He’s always felt for the disadvantaged.” 

Although he is a popular fixture around Yass – whenever Richard goes for a walk, he constantly waves at someone he knows – he has only lived in Yass since 2000. 

Before he and his late wife moved here, Richard was originally from Queensland, and spent many years travelling with either the army or his work. 

He describes himself as someone who doesn’t like rules, but also has stories of enforcing rules stringently on others. 

“People [tell] me ‘do this, this, this and this’; I don’t like obeying orders,” Richard said. 

“I don’t break rules, but I like to live my life, not someone else’s.” 

Despite his insistence on living his own life, Richard tends to enforce rules strictly when he is in a position of authority – and sometimes at the expense of his own health. 

He recalled one such experience during his time running the logistical aspects of different mines, such as organising the cooking, bedding, and other facilities in the mine.

A group of men accosted Richard over a dispute with the dinner schedule, attacked him, and dragged him around by attaching one end of a rope to his neck and tying the other end to their ute. 

Richard was hospitalized and unconscious for several days. 

Despite this horrendous incident, which occurred “20 or 30 years ago”, Richard remains upbeat and retains a very sharp and cheeky sense of humour.  

He developed it as a child while he was playing practical jokes on his teachers. 

This sense of humour helped Richard throughout his early adulthood, during which time he joined the army and served during the Korean War, which he said was tragic and terrifying. 

But also contained memorable moments of camaraderie with his fellow servicemen. 

At the present, Richard is content to live a simple, but no less busy life.

He has many different collections, which clutter up his home while he sorts them, and he is proud of the work he does with Men’s Shed to assist young men in Yass who benefit from his time, experience, and kindness which is inherent to him.