NORTH Nowra bashing victim Francois Beugels was the special guest at a morning tea at the Nowra Police station on Wednesday at which he thanked the local agencies and individuals that helped him since his attack in August.
Mr Beugels was the victim of a vicious attack in North Nowra while on an evening walk on August 25.
He was punched to the ground, had his head pushed into a concrete gutter, his wallet stolen and his head stomped on.
The morning tea was staged jointly by the Shoalhaven Local Area Command and Mr Beugels, with the 76-year-old saying he had been overwhelmed by the support and well wishes from the local community.
The severe bruising to his face may have gone – as one guest put it, he has his “stunning good looks back” – but he is still suffering some effects from the assault, including problems with his balance, hearing and headaches.
Mr Beugels said doctors had told him it might take some time to get over the trauma of the incident.
“My deepest, most grateful and most heartfelt thanks to all of you is all I can say, especially to the residents of Page Avenue who came to my aid,” he told the group of around 60 people assembled.
“There is no doubt in my mind – I know you saved my life.
“I know the beating only stopped when people came out after I screamed for help.
“I’m pretty sure I would be dead right now, so once again thank you very much.
“To me you are heroes.”
He also thanked three women who he called “the three Musketeers”, Cheryl Green, Sue Evans and Anita Andrea.
“They have been absolutely wonderful,” he said.
“They organised the march in Page Avenue and not only that, they have come day after day and visited me and supported me.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me and visited.
“Thanks to the ambulance paramedics who treated me.
“Last but not least, the police for their work, especially Detective Darren Rymer and Inspector Steve Johnson. What can I say about you guys?
“I have one thing to say to the commander here, you have got a damn good team.
“I’m sure there are plenty more as well I could thank, I don’t know them all, but the hard work they all did, they have been very supportive and compassionate.”
He said he has received 40 to 50 cards.
“Something struck me and impressed me; a lot of the cards were from young kids aged 15, 16 and 17.
“The first card I got, which was dropped off here at the police station, was from five or six kids from a refuge for homeless kids.”
Mr Beugels used to work in glass, creating beautiful jewellery and plates, and he brought a number of his wares in for the guests as a token of his appreciation.