When Doreen Wilson received confirmation she had received an OAM (Order of Australia) medal she cried.
"I cry at anything. I cry happy tears," Doreen said.
"It was an emotional reaction."
The former high school teacher has been recognised for her contribution to gymnastics over the past 30 plus years.
Her passion for gymnastics stretches back to the 1950s when she was teaching physical education (PE) at Hornsby and Sydney girls' high schools.
This relationship expanded into health and personal development and the establishment of gymnastic clubs outside of school hours.
In the mid 70s Doreen decided it was time for a change and asked for a transfer to Forster, primarily to give her three daughters a taste of country life.
"We'd visited Forster for many years; it was a small enough town to evaluate the personal development of students."
Doreen's passion for physical fitness extended beyond the school gate, establishing in Forster what was to become the largest gymnastics club in regional NSW.
More than 150 primary and secondary, boys and girls learned all aspects of gymnastics firstly on the Forster High School grounds, before moving into the newly built hall.
She later set-up similar programs at Chatham and Taree high schools, Cundletown and Manning Gardens primary schools, again attracting hundreds of eager youngsters.
I lead a very active and fulfilling life. The rewards are so great for sharing life skills with others.Doreen Wilson
Retirement in 1987 was followed with the creation of the NSW Festival of Gymnastics in Taree and two trips to Amsterdam with Australia's Gymnaestrada team
"We presented something different from the other countries and when we returned in 95 they copied us."
Now 86-years Doreen has expanded classes to men and women in their senior years teaching students (aged from 80-94 years) the benefits of movement and exercise at all levels of ability.
"Our lifestyle has changed.
"We need to have the ability to stay in our own homes so we have independence.
"And, that means getting fitter, getting the heart and lungs working, sending blood to the brain to stimulate our organs.
"We need to keep our joints moving and balanced."
"I don't want to sit around, rot and die.
"Life is too good."
During 2000 her gymnastics experience took Doreen to the Sydney Olympics where she was in charge of the gyms, and later co-ordinated the results during the Paralympics.
'It was a great time, the atmosphere and the camaraderie."
Doreen has participated in the baton relay for the Melbourne and Gold Coast Commonweath games and the Sydney Olympic games.
"I lead a very active and fulfilling life. The rewards are so great for sharing life skills with others."
Doreen has three daughters, she is Nana Dor to 11 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren
"I often run into past students, and of course social media is a great way to keep in contact, and love that I am still involved in their lives and their children's lives.
"I do not think of myself just as a teacher but rather as someone who inspires others to motivation to achieve."
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