Albert Johnston is well known in the Lake Cathie community for taking action to make things better.
When he moved to Lake Cathie in the late 90s with his wife Ruth, the area at the back of his Fiona Crescent property was dense with bush, weeds and vines.
Albert set to work and cleared the entire area to create a reserve, so that families could enjoy a grassy space to play a game of sport, ride bikes and have picnics.
Albert’s friends got together to restore a bench and cemented it in a location where Albert could relax and enjoy the surroundings he created.
Albert is battling cancer and he mentioned to his friends that it would be great if he could sit down somewhere when he got tired of walking.
Within three weeks friends Steve Quayle, Dave Curry, Neville McCarthy, Bob Ellicott, Robert Hawker, Richard Love and Gary Johnston had implemented the finished product at the location.
The bench was unveiled, complete with a plaque in Albert’s name at an intimate gathering of family and friends on Tuesday, May 8.
Albert’s daughter Colleen Quayle lived in Lake Cathie for 13 years and watched her father clear the land.
“It was just bush before that and you couldn’t do anything out here,” she said.
Colleen said the family chipped in to help maintain the land, through mowing and regular clearing.
She said it has brought the community closer as people come together to share a game of cricket or meet to have a chat.
Colleen said her dad got a lot of enjoyment from seeing people use the area.
“It was a passion for him, it was something he liked to look out to when he sat on the veranda,” she said.
“We had kangaroos out here, deers and koala.”
Colleen said it was an honour to have a permanent structure in the family’s name at the location.