Thursday, September 7, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Humble Contributions By Local Lady

By Bronte Hodge

For Jane Bettridge, a quiet retirement was something that she steered clear of, instead filling her time giving back to the Proserpine and Whitsundays community as much as possible.

In her working life, Jane was a primary school teacher, teaching the youngest of our youth for years before she moved into retirement.

“I got grade two in my second year of teaching, and I loved it. It was my niche, I had so much fun. I never taught higher than grade three ever again,” Jane explained.

Moving back to the area in her retirement, she was looking to give back to the community that raised her in her youth.

Aligning with her values, the Whitsunday Proserpine Uniting Church was the perfect fit for her.

“It just happened, that I was on the committee. I accidently wound up on the church council as their marketing person,” Jane said.

“Somebody thought it was a great idea!

“Sometimes I think God has a very strange sense of humour, but it’s been a vertical learning curve.”

During her time as the church’s marketing guru, she has overseen the massive fundraising effort of the Whitsunday Proserpine Uniting Church Brick by Brick campaign, with the goal to fund the rebuilding of their church.

When she’s not focusing her energy on the church, Jane loves volunteering with Whitsunday Lions Club.

She began this connection following Cyclone Debbie in 2017, helping with the kitchen effort and feeding emergency services as they helped in the aftermath and clean up.

Now, she has turned her sights to the Lions Youth of the Year Program, being the local coordinator of the Whitsunday Lions.

In this role, she overlooks the program, mentoring the local youth with their confidence in public speaking.

At the end of the program, the youth present two speeches, and one impromptu speech.

“The impromptu questions are difficult, but not impossible, and the children are amazing.

“The Youth of the Year is something that reminds me that the world is in great hands, because they are truly inspiring.”

For both organisations, Jane is integral to core programs and projects, solidifying herself as an invaluable community member.

“It’s just so humbling to be a part of these things, but there are many other people in town who do more than I do.”

Jane’s humility and passion drive everything she pursues, and she is a force to be reckoned with.

In the final stages of the Whitsunday Proserpine Uniting Church Brick by Brick campaign, she is excited to witness the construction of the church, as well as begin the 2024 Lions Youth of the Year planning.

Jane Bettridge services the Proserpine and Airlie Beach community every day, contributing to better the area. Photo credit: Bronte Hodge

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