VALE – Fr Vincent Paul Coleman, SJ, OAM

Fr Vincent Paul Coleman, SJ, OAM

On Thursday 5th October 2017, Fr Paul was laid to rest beside his brother Fr Gerald at Macquarie Park Cemetery, Sydney. 

The Coleman Family was well known to Ryder Cheshire through the involvement of his sister Barbara Lewis and brother Peter. Being numbered among the pioneers, they had all enjoyed the privilege of meeting with our founders Leonard and Sue. They took inspiration from their lives and words.

Fr Paul entered the Jesuit Order in 1948 and was ordained a priest in 1959. Over his many years of service he worked in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, but it was during his time in Sydney, particularly after Barbara and her husband Patrick moved there from Adelaide, that he became involved in the work of the Ryder Cheshire Foundation.  It was Fr Paul who pushed the committee to arrange fund-raising dinners as a two yearly event. Several of these were held at the Mary McKillop Centre where Fr Paul was the chaplain.  Others were held at Riverview College.  One memorable event was the Dinner at the Opera House, catered for by Guillaume Brahimi.  It was a wonderful lunch, Indian food, little children dressed in costumes, speeches and so forth.  Fr Paul’s feeling was that one had to encourage wealthy donors and this was a way to accomplish this. Continue reading VALE – Fr Vincent Paul Coleman, SJ, OAM

My Volunteering Time at Klibur Domin

From David 

 When I left Klibur Domin in November 2016 a lot of what was going through my mind concerned “what hadn’t been done”. There were some specific tasks on the agenda from day one. Tasks identified by others, tasks that could lead to giving real assistance to the Director.

Activities at Klibur Domin with the Sisters from the local school.

Snr Joaquim Soares, Director of KD, was the perfect host. Briefing me the first day he took me around the campus, an orientation walk and an introduction to a few of those on staff. Then into his office for the specifics about how best to use my time to help him. Over the next two days I met most of the staff and Iread lots of notes written by previous volunteers. Continue reading My Volunteering Time at Klibur Domin

BHOLA The gentle man who touched so many hearts



Bhola painting with volunteer at Raphael

It is with a heavy heart, we inform you about the sad demise of Bhola, one of our permanent residents who came to Raphael in 1959, the year of our establishment and left for his heavenly abode on 2nd January 2017.

Life has unexpected twists and turns and often what seems to be the very end may turn out to be the beginning of a beautiful story – a story of reaching out, of love and care, of helping hands extended in assistance to fellow travellers in life’s remarkable journey.  Such has been the story of Bhola’s life. It is one which touches the well spring of human compassion, tenderness in human interaction and it spans countries. Continue reading BHOLA The gentle man who touched so many hearts

Promoting the Possible Canonisation of Leonard Cheshire

The Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia in the United Kingdom where Leonard Cheshire lived, is launching a campaign in early September, 2017 to celebrate the centenary of his birth. It is hoped that the campaign will inspire an ongoing community of prayer and eventual canonisation in a process of discovery leading to possible sainthood.

Leonard visiting Raphael Ryder-Cheshire Home in Dehradun, India

Leonard Cheshire was the most decorated British servicemen in World War II. An RAF pilot, he conducted over 100 bombing missions. He was also the leader of the famous ‘Dambuster Squadron’ (No 617), noted for flying low over the water in sending the skipping bombs towards their target.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1940 (with two bars in 1943 and 1944), the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1941 and the Victoria Cross in 1944. In 1945 he was selected by Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, to represent the British Government as an observer at the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki in Japan. Continue reading Promoting the Possible Canonisation of Leonard Cheshire

END OF AN ERA – Singleton Home closes

In February 1979, Leonard Cheshire spoke at the Combined Service Clubs Dinner in Singleton and referred to seeing young physically disabled people in nursing homes before their time, and the need for a group house for the 18 to 35 age group.

Thereon, we formed the Singleton Ryder-Cheshire Support Group (umpteen cake stalls, art shows, etc.) The local community and service clubs were generous.  We sold cards and sponsored Raphael residents.

In April 1985, after years of fund-raising, we purchased “Locksley”, a six bedroom 1890 weatherboard house with a large garden and back lane access, not far from the shopping centre and the RSL Club.  The announcement was made with both Leonard and Sue present.  The house was ramped and renovated to allow total access for someone with up to a T6 paraplegia.  On the 30th November 1985, with neither of our Founders able to attend, we officially opened the home with a pottery exhibition by Sonja Witt, who had run the first Singleton Pre-School in this house.   In 1992, we created a memorial garden on the death of Leonard Cheshire, with Air Marshal Jake Newham, Josephine Collins, Barbara Lewis and Joan Usher in attendance.  In 2000, we unveiled another plaque on the death of Sue Ryder.

Over the years, 75 people have benefited either as long term, short-term, or overnight residents.  Many availed of the local Home Care Service which extended to personal care.  One person, mute and quadriplegic, stayed eight years, and went tandem sky-diving at weekends. There was a period where we partnered with Hunter Carer Respite to give carers a break.  Residents loved the home, the garden, the space, and the comparative independence we offered.  There were nine years when Witmore Enterprises used the facility for Daily Living Skills programs for young adults with developmental disabilities There were three eras of the house being occupied by families in need because of a heavily disabled member, including a young family with a boy with quadriplegia and four other children. For two and a half years, Integrated Living facilitated their community advisory services, occasional overnight respite accommodation and craft, cooking, gardening and education courses for aboriginal groups.

Unfortunately, with the recent NDIS changes to disability pensions, care-giving facilitators can no longer commit to agreements and no occupants were forthcoming.  After 31 years (37 years for our aging committee), we made the huge decision to sell the home.

Leonard Cheshire said “If too many obstacles present, you are on the wrong track of the LP record”. It was time.  The proceeds of sale and all of our funds are being distributed to Ryder-Cheshire projects – Raphael, Klibur Domin, Mt. Gambier home and Nardy House in Bega

By Anne Boyd