It is with great sadness that we report the sudden passing of Evelyn Birchnoff, teacher of Connells Point Physical Culture Club, known by her friends as “Evie”. Not only her immediate family but all of her extended physie family are shocked and saddened by this loss. The funeral will be this Friday 26th September at 10.00am at Mortdale Baptist Church, 1-5 Woronora Parade Oatley (corner of Boundary Road).
Evelyn was a BJP teacher for 42 years and has also been a Demonstrator at the City Associates Class, a Presenter on movement practices and stretching at many of BJP’s teachers’ seminars and conferences and was a competitor herself. A highlight of her physie career was performing in the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games as one of the rare Honeymyrtles.
Evelyn was a Pilates instructor who used the principles of Pilates to help with body alignment, posture management and body awareness but, most importantly, to help prevent injury when doing physie. She had a passion for teaching physie and was always looking to improve herself and help others. She even learned Mandarin so that she could communicate better with some of her students’ parents and create a warm, friendly community amongst her club. She loved her physie girls above all else.
She was dedicated and sincere, innovative and a great sport. She recently wrote “What gives us inspiration is the increasing trend among our students to value friendship over winning and they are teaching their new peers to enjoy this experience as well. I always believe that positive thinking, motivation and self confidence is such a powerful tool in meeting new challenges and this is my mission for the girls of Connells Point Physie Club.”
Emma Dawson, Evelyn’s co-teacher will be taking over the classes and we are sure she will carry on Evelyn’s mission. Emma has written this letter which she wished to share.
Evie, I am struggling to find the words to tell you how much you were loved.
I have so many childhood memories of you teaching me to suck in, point my toes and address the judges. And so many girls have the same memories. But not only were you my teacher but you were my friend, teaching me how to be a strong, confident and successful woman.
My happiest physie memory is the day you asked me to help teach at our amazing club Connells Point, you became my mentor and I never got to say thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I have leant so much from you and know you will be with me every class, guiding me, as I begin to teach on my own next week.
Your memory will live on in every girl and their family who loved you so much because you taught them to “Dream… Believe… Achieve…”.
We are going to miss your bubbly, passionate and crazy presence so terribly in our classes next week but we know when it comes to competition day you will be in their hearts doing every step with them. Every year our little CP physie bees try their very best for you but this year through their heart ache it will be hard but they will go out on the floor and do their very best physie for you.
Connells Point Physie Club will come together in the following months because as you always said, as a team, “Together Everyone Achieves Miracles”.
I will miss you always.