Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : January 24, 2017 Edition Contents PAGE 14 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2017
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DANCING at the Dalyston Hall got off to
fabulous start for 2017 with all the regulars
gathering together and newcomers warmly
The weekly gathering has been going for al-
most five years and some great relationships
have come out of it.
Barry and Bernice O’Loughlin met on the
dance floor two years ago and are now mar-
ried. They had their wedding dance at Da-
They dance five times a week at various lo-
“I don’t need to go to the gym,” said Bernice.
Dance partners Helen Hempel and Alex
Cole also met at the Dalyston Dance Class
and have enjoyed dancing at a lot of differ-
ent venues although they don’t wander too far
They all have special dancing shoes and
once they have put them on and the clock
strikes 7pm, they all take to the dance floor.
There is a palpable camaraderie as they
circle the Dalyston Hall with its beautifully
The class goes from 7pm-10pm every week
and beginners are welcome.
“You don’t need to know how to dance,” said
committee member, Gael Cresp.
“We only knew how to waltz when we started
here two years ago. Peter and Lorna Dawson
showed us, and Grant and Sandra helped us
out, and Dot and Hilda (who died recently) all
helped us out.”
If you are at a loose end on Thursday nights
and would like to learn to dance, you will get
a very warm welcome from this lovely group
WHEN you meet Gillian Armstrong you can
just feel you are in the presence of someone
Not being one to dwell on difficulties she
starts by saying; “To cut a very long story short,
I had a major brain haemorrhage followed by
a stroke then countless operations that culmi-
nated in a 15-hour operation to fix a malforma-
tion in my brain that I had had since birth and
was unaware of.”
She was in her early forties, had three young
children and a loving husband and found her-
self, in a wheel chair having to learn to walk,
write and speak again.
It makes what she just achieved last Novem-
ber all the more remarkable.
Gillian had travelled back in the 1970s when
she worked for The Magic Bus Company travel-
ling through Europe, the Middle East and In-
dia. This was when she first fell in love with
Forty years later she returned.
She attended a series of talks at the local
Community Learning Centre given by Adven-
That is where she first met Rochelle Thorpe.
She was so blown away by Rochelle’s presenta-
tion that when she got home she wrote a note
to Dave her husband, who gets up very early
to go to work, saying she really wanted to go
The next day he said, “Why don’t you?”
“That was May last year,” Gillian said. “I went
in November. I knew I had to work on my fit-
ness because I would be climbing mountains
and lots of steps so I started going up and down
and over the dunes at Forest Caves. I would
do it 5 or 6 times each session. I enjoyed it so
much thinking about what I was about to do.
It’s absolutely stunning when you’re there in
Nepal. It’s so cheap too as you don’t pay any
They were away for 11 days and it involved
6 days trekking in the Annapurna Ranges at
up to 3000m.
The trips are done in conjunction with a
local Nepalese trekking company in Nepal.
They are highly trained and very professional.
“We stayed in village teahouses and all ate
together. Subal, the Nepalese guide, had such
a wicked sense of humour. We all had just so
much fun and got on so well together.
There were 10 of us including Rochelle
whose role is to put the groups together in
Australia, fly to Nepal with the group and ac-
company us throughout the trek. The guides
and Sherpas do everything else, ” explained
She had a great time collecting up clothes
from Op shops for the children in the orphan-
age Rochelle is involved with.
“I t made me feel so good to be supporting
the local villagers especially after all they have
been through with the Earthquake, ” she said.
“So much came out of that presentation Ro-
chelle gave. A wonderful Phillip Island woman
had knitted 60 beanies and these were taken
over and given to the kids in the orphanage.
“Something else I have to tell you,” says Gil-
“In Nepal we would walk along winding
paths through Rhododendrons the size of
Gumtrees and there would be the sound of
donkey bells. I brought one back with me and
it hangs at my front door. Dave rings it ev-
ery morning when he gets home from work. It
makes me feel so good.”
If anyone is interested in joining Rochelle
on a trek they can contact her at her beautiful
shop called Yakkity Yak in Loch or via email
firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Yak-
kity Yak Facebook.
Barry and Bernice O’Loughlin love to dance a110417
Dancing the night
away at Dalyston Hall
By Anne Tindall
For Gillian Armstrong, the sights and sounds of Nepal are never far away from her thoughts.
In the top row is Gillian Armstrong in the middle, Subal (the Nepalese Guide) is far left,
and Rochelle Thorpe is far right.
By Anne Tindall
On top of the world
Gillian Armstrong and Nepal, a story of grit and determination
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