Noel’s OAM honour

Glen Innes local Noel Schmidt has been honoured for his work in the community with an Order of Australia medal.
Nanjing Night Net

Community stalwart Noel Schmidt is still excited about receiving the Order of Australia Medal for his extensive activities helping people stay healthy.

Noel, described by many as a humble man, was given the honour in recognition for the healthy lifestyle program he has operated for many years. The programs attract a wide audience keen to partake in Tai Chi and Qigong classes designed to strengthen the body gently, assist breathing and improve balance.

Caught for an interview during his Tai Chi classes, Noel was indeed every bit the humble character described by those who know him. But still excited at the thought of having received the award.

“I was taken aback,” he said.

“I wasn’t expecting it.

“It is an honour, but I see it as an award for the whole community, not just me. It’s the community that has got behind these classes to help us all maintain some sort of healthy lifestyle.

People travel from throughout the district to attend one of eight weekly classes conducted by Noel. The program originated many eyars ago at the Garden Court in Glen Innes and has blossomed into the popular program it is today, thanks in no small part to Noel’s enthusiasm.

“They’re not just for elderly people as you might think,” Noel said.

“I have people of ages and abilities joining classes. It’s also not just about exercising, it’s also about companionship and maintaining contact with other members of the community. This also benefits mental health.”

Noel said the program isimportant not just to him, but also to many people in the community.

“It quickly became apparent that there was a need for such a program some 20 years ago. When I developed the classes I was able to concentrate on what was most needed by people attending, mainly teaching them how to maintain a good sense of balance, breathing to help with a healthier body, and isometric exercises.

“For about three years now I have run a men’s class that involves Tai Chi and Qigong, but also leans towards more martial arts movements. People really enjoy those classes.”

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