Kyogle woman Noelle Lynden-Way is hoping the Grans on Deck project she inspired will help break down the barriers between exuberance of youth and the more circumspect older generation.
Kyogle woman Noelle Lynden-Way is hoping the Grans on Deck project she inspired will help break down the barriers between exuberance of youth and the more circumspect older generation. Doug Eaton

Why me, asks a great gran

LAUGHTER, exercise and singing: These are the secrets to being a great gran, says Noelle Lynden-Way.

In fact, that is the secret to a happy life in general, she said.

And Ms Lynden-Way should know all about being a good grandmother, as she's been nominated for the Grandparent of the Year Award, an initiative of the NSW Government.

The Kyogle woman, devoted to her community and her local Bangalow-based grandson, Rio, 5, said she couldn't believe it when she got the call.

"I initially thought, well, why me? Because I know so many grandparents who do the same thing as me. There's so many people who are doing a great job, I see it all the time," she said.

But it's community members and her own daughter who nominated her, who see the contribution she makes, not only to Rio, her Sydney- based granddaughter Jessie, 8, and step-grandchildren, but to the Kyogle community itself.

Ms Lynden-Way is passionately involved with the community choir, the Aboriginal Land Council's Thursday children's music classes, is Team Leader for the Red Cross emergency services, and the not-for-profit organisation Kyogle Together, which has organised events and programs such as Grans on Decks, Active Kyogle, the community gym and the Kyogle Youth Action mentor system.

Seemingly younger than her 71 years, Ms Lynden-Way bounds about the countryside with young Rio, playing soccer, exploring streams, playing music and climbing mountains.

And she's not slowing down yet.

Ms Lynden-Way stresses the importance of exercise and activity and she practices what she preaches.

For example, on Thursday mornings she swims laps at the Kyogle pool before heading off with some girlfriends to a Stretch and Tone class.

"I think that's while I'm always well. It's good to keep active I think," she said.

Ms Lynden-Way said the best thing about being a grandparent is the time that they have at that stage of life to spend with the kids, and so to be able enjoy them watch them grow.

"It's marvellous to observe Rio growing and developing each week," she said.

"And the laughter! I'm bit eccentric and he accepts that."

The awards are to be announced and presented on Grandparents Day, on Sunday.



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