June 22, 2024 3:19 AM

Gerard’s final day at the Diggers



Local businessman Gerard McMillan commenced his final day as Singleton Diggers General Manager with a guard of honour to his office last Wednesday.

Such were the emotions of the scene that it took him three minutes to greet all of his employees one final time.

“It really was something special,” he told The Hunter River Times.

Mr McMillan commenced his role on May 16, 1979 and shared his journey with his staff in a special breakfast on his final morning.

“I want to wish you all the best that life has to offer,” he declared.

THRT 13.1.1 Gerard McMillan.Beautiful People
Gerard McMillan pictured on his last day as General Manager of the Singleton Diggers on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

“Life has its ups and downs but I believe that my life is only just beginning and I thank God I have Rotary and other things in the community that I want to do.”

Singleton Diggers Operations Manager Michael Titow was one of many colleagues to lead the tributes.

“I was asked what it meant to see so many staff here, well, I really appreciate you all being here today,” Mr McMillan continued.

“My parting words are, be the best that you can be and support Michael and support the management team and while you love your job keep doing it.”

As he climbed the iconic stairs to his office it was back to work one final time.

At 10:30am he gathered with members of the Singleton RSL subbranch to sign off on a new project; just as he had done on so many occasions.

By midday, more than 1000 viewers had witnessed his guard of honour which had been posted on The Hunter River Times Facebook Page.

Then he quietly left at 2pm for another duty close to his heart.

“While it was my last day on the job I still wanted to make time for the Pallative Care Group,” he explained.

THRT 13.1.2 Gerard McMillan.Beautiful People
Returning Officer Gerard McMillan pictured at the Palliative Care Group AGM last week.

“So, I ventured over there and, as a returning officer, assisted with their AGM.”

Only 24 hours later we then coincided the end of his working journey with a small gesture; presenting him with a bouquet of flowers as our Beautiful Person for this edition.

As the week came to an end, he took the opportunity to thank those who had been a part of his exciting 41-year journey.

“I really want to thank my ex-wife Anne because when I was offered to run the Singleton Club she backed me and told me that I could do it,” he proudly concluded.

“I put my life into the club and she and the kids did suffer a bit but as far as the kids are concerned they are proud of me (and I still talk to her as well).

“Ray Mantle was the club president at the beginning, he was very supportive and Les Griffiths who was also very good to me.

“In later years my partner Yvonne (Palmer) has been very good as well so I would like to thank them all.”