AFTER a month-long illness that kept him at home, local hero Cedric Amoils was back on Bondi Beach this week picking up rubbish.
Over the past three years, since he took it upon himself to clean up after others, the 80-year-old environmental enthusiast has collected almost five tonnes of garbage from along the seafront.
“It’s great to be back on the beach, I’ve got my energy back and I love it,” Amoils told The AJN this week.
His personal clean-up campaign began in 2014, after having a stent put into his heart and being told by his doctor that he needed a pacemaker and that he had to exercise to stay healthy.
“I started going to the beach at 5.30am in the morning, every morning, and the easiest was to get exercise is to squat and pick up rubbish,” Amoils recalled. “And now other people are becoming aware of the issue, and they come up to me and ask me for a spare bag. So now, I carry spare bags so if anyone wants to help, they can do so.”
Amoils is also involved with OneWave, a group of volunteers that look after young people with mental health issues by taking them to the beach and encouraging them to surf and do yoga. He has also been known to give impromptu inspirational speeches to the OneWave leaders, often quoting his heroes Golda Meir, John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher and Albert Einstein.
“OneWave has adopted me and they’ve started picking up rubbish on the beach too,” Amoils said. “After a major storm, where there is always a huge influx of rubbish, they organise to come down and walk with me.”
Amoils also gives back to the community by donating any undamaged personal items and money that he finds to the Wayside Chapel. In addition, he runs Wolper’s golf program and drives residents of the Montefiore homes in Woollahra and Randwick to and from their medical appointments.
He is also a frequent volunteer at Jewish House, picking up homeless people and driving them to temporary accommodation. He also does the gardening there. Rabbi Mendel Kastel, CEO of Jewish House, describes him as “truly a wonderful man”.
It would seem that initiative and leadership run in the Amoils family; his granddaughter Ricci Amoils won the Leadership Award and graduated from Moriah College last year.
But it’s not just his family he’s encouraging to follow in his footsteps. Amoils wants us all to realise that “we have a responsibility for the planet and to remember that if we all do a little, a lot can be achieved.”