The Reverend Bev Ham with one of the Holland America cruise ships in the background.
The Reverend Bev Ham with one of the Holland America cruise ships in the background. Contributed

Rev found her sea legs at 70

AT THE age of 72, the Rev Bev Ham may have the most enviable job in the world.

As a chaplain for international cruise ship company Holland America, every few months Ms Ham gets to sail the world.

Born and raised in Gympie, and now settled in the Glass House Mountains, Ms Ham worked as a Uniting Church minister for 46 years.

She has lived in and travelled to many parishes across Queensland and overseas, both city and rural, but said when she was 70 she applied for a new job.

"I had to write a resume when I was 70 and I hadn't written a resume in 40 years so I googled how to do it, and now I'm sailing the world," Ms Ham said.

She is about to embark on her ninth cruise in two-and-a-half years, this time travelling for 25 days, flying to Vancouver to join the ship and sailing to LA, Hawaii, Samoa, Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia and returning to Sydney.

Ms Ham's responsibilities on board the 1400-passenger ship are taking services on Sunday, counselling crew and passengers, and supporting the medical centre if someone becomes seriously ill or dies.

"Other than that," Ms Ham said, "I have to mingle with the passengers and ensure they're enjoying the cruise."

Ms Ham is the daughter of late Gympie pharmacist Horrie Ham of Walsh & Ham and later Ham & Shepherd.

She said she was the type of person who looked for new experiences and enjoyed talking to people and hearing their stories.

"Last year, I went up through Asia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, China and Japan," Ms Ham said.

"I went ashore with the passengers and experienced everything with them. It's not just the sights you see, it's the people you meet."

Showing no signs of slowing, Ms Ham said she would sail the world for as long as possible.

"As long as I've got my health and I can think straight and people tell me I'm doing a great job, I'll still be doing it."

Gympie Times


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