February 20 will mark a milestone for inspirational residents Barry and Ann France as they celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary.
Throughout their marriage the community-minded couple has dedicated a significant amount of their time to causes and helping others, most of which has been achieved over the 31 years they have resided on Bribie Island.
A former bank manager, Barry was instrumental in raising $20,000 locally for a cause close to his heart: trying to help to eradicate polio as his brother was severly affected by the condition. Barry, Ann and Bribie Island Rotary Club were awarded with a Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of their contribution and effort to the ‘End Polio Now’ campaign.
“Another cause we are also passionate about is an event started by the Dubbo South Rotary Club is Destination Outback which has raised more than $1 million for the Royal Flying Doctor service and supporting many other worthy causes,”she said.
Barry and Ann were instrumental in establishing the Kawana Surf Club. Barry was a surf boat competitor at a state and national level while for a few years Ann and a friend instructed CPR to junior lifesavers and still remains a huge supporter for the need CPR training in the community.
Other community service endeavours have included Apex, Chamber of Commerce and Queensland Cancer Council charity auctioneering and the Butterfly House.
Twenty one years ago the couple decided to enter real estate with the purchase of a real estate agency from Ken Mackay (now known as R&W).
“At one time we had three real estate offices and 29 staff at the height of the real estate boom,” Barry said. “We have provided a lot of employment for the island and we’re proud of that.”
Barry is now chairman of the Bribie Island Bolws Club and Ann a passionate photographer in her spare time. They have two children, Scott, a prominent local builder, Lisa, an enviromental scientist and former State Member for Pumicestone, and three beautiful grandsons.
The couple’s wedding anniversary will be a nostagic day for Barry and Ann, taking a trip down memory lane in their 1955 FC Holden.
“It is the same model of our first car when I met Ann and when we had our children. It is very sentimental to us,” Barry said.