Retired Military Veterans Find Friendship and Stay Active with Social Volleyball

enjoying comradery while staying active

11 April 2019

Article heading image for Retired Military Veterans Find Friendship and Stay Active with Social Volleyball
Image: David Janetzki MP with retired military veterans Chris Bell (left) and Andy Bligh.

A group of retired military veterans is enjoying comradery while staying active through weekly games of social volleyball in Toowoomba.

Army veteran Andy Bligh, 69, said their group of 12 veterans met each other through a Department of Veterans’ Affairs healthy heart program two years ago which was run to help local veterans with their health and wellbeing.

“We enjoy the competition and social interaction with each other,” Mr Bligh said.

“We take a very light-hearted approach to the game – we bend the rules a little bit. And there is lots of sledging,” he said.

Member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki MP was happy to help the group of veterans when they contacted his office to help find a new venue for them to play.

Previously, the group was meeting at the outdoor sand courts in Harlaxton and Groom Park. However, wet weather, bad ankles and chasing balls across busy roads was putting a dampener on their spirits.

Mr Janetzki wrote to the University of Southern Queensland on the veterans’ behalf and USQ offered for them to play in their indoor courts each week.

“It is wonderful to see our veterans have found friendship, comradery and physical exercise through their weekly games of volleyball,” Mr Janetzki said.

“When men stop employment, a lot of their social network disappears too so it is great this group have found each other,” he said. 

Retired army officer Chris Bell, 70, said the group always have coffee and chat for another hour after finishing their game each week.

“We all have a good time,” Mr Bell said.

“We all stick it to each other, sledge as hard as we can then afterwards put the world right over an hour of coffee,” he said.

The group are veterans of Vietnam, East Timor and Afghanistan.

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