Bernie is kicking goals as Mercy Place Ave Maria purchases bus

By Ed McLeish

One-hundred-year-old Bernie Cummins, from Shepparton, will get to see his beloved Hawks at the MCG this year.

Bernie, a resident at Mercy Place Ave Maria, donated $10 000 towards the centre's new 12-seat Renault bus.

Bernie said he wasn’t going to be making it down to the ‘G’ this year, but now the Renault was ready to run, he could see the brown and gold, and get there in style.

“There’s a lot of legroom,” Bernie said.

But it’s not just Bernie who’s contributed to the bus.

Mercy Place’s newest vehicle follows years of fundraisers put on by residents – from Bunnings sausage sizzles, to cake stalls, to op-shop fashion parades.

Mercy Place Ave Maria lifestyle coordinator Jan Christenson said the residents were “that excited” when the bus came late last week.

“The residents were asking, "Can we go around the block? Can we go around the block?’” she said.

Ms Christenson said the mini-bus, worth $54 000, was saved up for longer than she had been working at the centre.

“I’ve been here for eight or nine years now,” she said.

“It’s allowed the residents so much more freedom.

“We would love to thank Greater Shepparton City Council, who pledged $5000 to the bus, and our Local Advisory Committee, who have sorted fundraising ideas for at least 20 years.”

The bus will stay at the centre, which is located across the road from GV Health.

On Tuesday, some of the 91 residents went for a lap around Shepparton.

Ms Christenson said Mercy Place hoped to take the bus on a day trip to Bendigo, and when the AFL season started, they could head down to Melbourne too.

“Footy is big business here,” she said.

More stories on Mercy Place Ave Maria:

Long-time support tips narrow Richmond win

Puppy Nell finds new home at Ave Maria

Bernie Cummins and Flo Millerick celebrate 100 years