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Guest Character Profiles > Vera Punt Sally-Anne Upton

Vera Punt (nee Grundy) 2019, 2021, 2022, 2024
Lived: 34 Ramsay Street
Siblings: Valerie

The abrasive Mrs Vera Punt came to Erinsborough from Bendigo, following the death of her sister, Valerie, who had lived at 34 Ramsay Street for many years. Believing that Valerie had no family, neighbours David and Aaron had adopted her dog, a French bulldog named Regina ‘Reggie’ Grundy, but were alarmed when she went missing from the Lassiters Complex one day. After putting up posters looking for the missing dog, they were surprised to see a woman walking Reggie on Ramsay Street - she introduced herself as Mrs Vera Punt and explained that she was Valerie’s sister. She and Valerie hadn’t spoken in years, following a falling out that Mrs Punt couldn’t remember the details of, and the lawyers had taken a while to track her down, but she had been bequeathed her sister’s house and dog and wasn’t prepared to give up either of them, even when David and Aaron offered to pay her. Though David struggled badly with the idea of handing Reggie over to Mrs Punt, Aaron realised that the woman was lonely and had regrets about the way things had ended with Valerie, and so they reluctantly said goodbye to Reggie, as he headed back to Bendigo with Mrs Punt - who left David and Aaron with a bill for the vaccinations the dog had needed!

A few weeks later, Mrs Punt was back in town to arrange the sale of 34 Ramsay Street, when she was accidentally hit by a huge heart that had been part of the Lassiters Complex’s Valentine’s Day display. As Leo Tanaka had been taking down the heart when it hit Mrs Punt, she decided to take legal action against him, despite not being injured in the accident. Sheila Canning offered to have a word with Mrs Punt, persuading her that, unlike his father Paul, Leo wasn’t wealthy and she wouldn’t get very much money out of him. Believing that she’d talked Mrs Punt out of suing, Sheila was worried to learn later that day that Mrs Punt was now suing the hotel for failing to provide a safe environment for its patrons. As part of the settlement with Mrs Punt, Leo was forced to make an apology to her, but it all went badly when a resentful Leo blurted out to his gathered family that he had started seeing the much younger Piper Willis, whose mother, Terese, was married to Leo’s father, Paul. The entire incident quickly put an end to the matter, as Mrs Punt promptly left, saying that she wanted nothing to do with Paul and his ‘tawdry family’ and went with lawyer Imogen to sort out the compensation payment.

Having decided to keep 34 Ramsay Street for herself, Mrs Punt continued to be horrified by the antics of the locals when Roxy Willis took her top off in public, whilst riding a mechanical bull in the Lassiters Complex. However, it became clear that Mrs Punt had an eye for younger men when she joined the crowd at a Bachelor Auction at The Waterhole. Having failed to get the winning bid on Pierce Greyson, Mrs Punt was more successful with a $275 bid for a horrified Aaron, and made him do her gardening in a tiny pair of shorts. Over the following year, Mrs Punt continued to irritate her neighbours - making a noise complaint during a party at no. 22 - and surprise them - getting a plaster cast of her bust for an art project, and getting a dragon tattoo during the Lassiters’ Pride Festival.

In 2021, Vera attended a lip synch fundraiser for the Sonya Rebecchi Foundation at The Waterhole, where she was surprisingly impressed with David during his performance, with barman Shane Rebecchi having to remind her that it was a family event. A few months later, Mrs Punt fell victim to the seasonal decorations at Lassiters once again, when she tripped on some Easter decorations, and ended up in hospital with a sprained ankle. Mrs Punt managed to secure another big settlement from the hotel, and, at the hospital, it was revealed that new Erinsborough High teacher Curtis Perkins was her nephew, who had about as much time for her whinging as everyone else.

The following month, Mrs Punt was affronted when Karl Kennedy found dog poo on his lawn and suggested that her dog, Reggie, was responsible, then accidentally turned the hose on her. When a pile of manure was deliberately dumped outside Karl’s house later that day, he assumed that it was Mrs Punt getting her revenge and an argument broke out, before Karl got his own back by having the manure dumped on Mrs Punt’s driveway. As things got increasingly out of hand, Melanie Pearson was forced to admit that she might be responsible for the whole debacle - she’d had some manure dumped outside Angela Lane’s house, believing that she was responsible for losing a big case for Toadie Rebecchi’s law firm, where Melanie worked. Angela, who’d had an argument with Karl, had believed that he was the one who’d done it and had returned the favour. As Mrs Punt demanded an apology for the trauma she’d suffered, everyone simply walked away.

Later in the year, Mrs Punt attended a fancy dress Christmas party at The Waterhole, dressed as a Christmas pudding. There, she asked Melanie, who was dressed as Mystic Mel, if she could contact Val with her crystal ball. Though sceptical, Mrs Punt was impressed when Mel mentioned that Val had loved the beach, then asked if she could find out where in the house Val had hidden her money!

A few weeks later, Mrs Punt attended a pitch at Leo’s vineyard, where he was hoping to find investors for his plans to create his own whisky. There, she continually rubbed the other women of Ramsay Street the wrong way, tiring of their conversation and wanting the gossip on Terese almost falling from the roof of Lassiters recently. Unfortunately, when Mrs Punt insulted Nicolette Stone - unimpressed with the way she’d treated David and Aaron in their co-parenting arrangement - she ended up with a drink thrown in her face. As Leo feared that Mrs Punt might ruin his business before it had even gotten started, Nicolette tried to apologise, but Mrs Punt walked out, telling Leo that he could stuff his investment.

The following month, Mrs Punt heard that Zara Selwyn had been accused of starting fires in the area and, as she lived at no. 30, she confronted her mum, Amy, as well as Toadie, for letting them live with him. The next week, Mrs Punt was delighted to be asked to a party being held at no. 24, unaware that she’d only been asked to stop her from calling the police with a noise complaint. At the party, Mrs Punt continued to make her feelings clear about Zara, blaming Amy’s poor parenting for the situation. A few months later, Mrs Punt attended another party, a huge street gathering to celebrate the marriage of Toadie and Melanie.

At the end of 2023, Vera went to Europe, on the holiday of a lifetime, with Curtis, returning a few weeks later with tales of her travels that nobody wanted to hear. She then met a man named Santo Oliveira on a dating app and they met up at The Waterhole that evening. Santo and Vera got on well, chatting away and going on to arrange to meet up again. Vera then went over to Terese Willis, who'd been sitting and listening from a table nearby, and who had been led to believe that Santo was already dating Melanie Pearson. Not wanting to cause trouble, Terese subtly tried to confirm with Vera whether Santo was looking for a relationship or just a hook-up, and Vera said that she'd been upfront with him before they met - she didn't want to meet someone who was seeing other people, and Santo agreed. Terese was then left with the dilemma of whether to tell Melanie - her husband's ex - that she was being cheated on, unaware that Melanie had actually lied about the whole thing to stop people from feeling sorry for her.

A few weeks later, Vera attended the Lassiters Longest Lie-In. The event was designed by Krista Sinclair to improve hotel business, and involved people signing up to see who could spend the longest in a bed in the Lassiters complex, with the winners receiving an all-expenses paid stay at Lassiters New York. Although she hadn't formally entered, Vera decided to just turn up anyway, taking an empty bed and making herself at home. Fortunately, someone had dropped out, so she was able to stay, but she quickly irritated Holly Hoyland, who was working at the event, by making constant demands. Having had enough, Holly decided that the best course of action was to get rid of Vera by putting itching powder in her bed. Soon enough, Vera was unable to stop scratching and leapt out of the bed, getting herself disqualified from the competition.

Episodes Featured
8023, 8041, 8047, 8066, 8104, 8151, 8539, 8594, 8622, 8741, 8757, 8787, 8792, 8903, 8980, 9004

Trivia Notes
• Between 2008 and 2010, and between 2017 and 2022, Sally-Anne Upton was the unit set nurse on Neighbours

Biography by Steve