Occasionally, you meet a really young person who has what I’d like to call an ‘old soul’, someone very mature & thoughtful beyond their years. I instinctively knew this applied to 8 year old Willow, who I met a couple of years ago, when I had an art & craft market stall @Anglesea Indoor Market which is run by her Mother, Mandy.

She was always writing stories, playing with her beautiful puppy Rusty & even making little signs for stall holders to put on their stalls etc.

So it was no surprise, that in the midst of yet another lockdown & all the frustrations & uncertain times, I saw an article in the Geelong Advertiser showing how young Willow set out to make the people of the beautiful seaside town of Anglesea smile again.

Willow told me that her mother had a Penguin Sand Mould & Willow talked to her Mum about her plans to make some on the main beach at Anglesea.

They went to the beach and after a few trial-and-error Penguins where they had to get the noses just right, they were ready to get cracking on the ‘Sand Penguin Parade’.

Willow, has lived at the beach for most of her 8 years, and loves drifting off to sleep with the sounds of waves breaking.

She has since created around 100 of the ‘Sand Penguins’ on the main beach in Anglesea and has brought many a smile to locals & tourists alike.

In a time where it’s quite easy to feel negative & angry, Willow thought of how others were feeling & decided to do something positive about it 🙏. She wrote messages in the sand, ‘Keep smiling’ and ‘Less work & play with your kids’.

I also asked her what adults could learn from Children in these times?

She said it was still important for adults to create fun times for their children, to take photos and to be positive. We all want to be able to look back on these times and smile.

Isn’t that what every child and adult wants? To look back and cherish the fun times and great memories they’ve created.

Knowing Willow is also a lover of animals, my final question was what are her favourite animals and why?

Her responses were Koalas because they’re cute. Penguins as Willow’s friend Aibhlinn, adores penguins and has passed on her love and knowledge of them to Willow. Foxes because of their cute tails and finally, Black Tigers and Leopards due to their sleek coats and superfast running abilities.

It was an absolute pleasure to sit down with Willow & her cute doggie sidekick “Rusty’ to talk about her wonderful contribution to the people of Anglesea.

I’m sure in years to come, I will hear lots more positive stories involving Willow. She’s certainly an inspiration to an ‘Old sand Penguin’ like me 👍.

Story: Luke Richen. Photos: supplied