Category Archives: Ryder-Cheshire Australia

The 19th Biennial Conference is over

Delegates at the Conference

Over ninety delegates have made their way back to their homes in Timor-Leste, India, New Zealand and across Australia. We have been informed, challenged, inspired, and entertained.
Ryder-Cheshire is an inclusive family and an important function of the Conference is that of family reunion, and a welcome to new supporters. Those who normally communicate by email and telephone have been together for hugs and handshakes, and in-depth discussion that is not possible by other means.
We were fortunate indeed to have a beautiful venue, Hillsley, a former church which is part of the Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School campus, on the outskirts of Melbourne. Our heartfelt thanks to the School for making it available to us.
In conjunction with the Conference, Ryder-Cheshire Australia also held it’s Annual General Meeting, and a General Meeting of the Board, with all members present plus valuable input from Klibur Domin Managing Director, Sr Joaquim Soares and Raphael Chief Executive Officer, Brig Anil Sinha (Retd). The Board also welcomed observers Carolyn Tapley, RCF New Zealand, and John Kirby RCF SA.

Some highlights of the conference:
In the opening address by Dr Heather Schnagl AM, ‘ Never Too Young for Philanthropy ‘, she described the openness of young people to becoming engaged in philanthropy if approached in the right way, and the success she has achieved with her students in this respect. Dr Schnagl, is the immediate Past Principal of Ivanhoe Girls’ School and a “Friend of Ryder-Cheshire”. Indeed, lots of ideas for Ryder-Cheshire to pursue.

The lovely Conference room at Hillslea, which was formerly a Presbyterian Church and has been restored by the School.

We watched informative Power Point and video updates from Anil (from Raphael) and Joaquim (from Klibur Domin) about progress and developments at Raphael and Klibur Domin respectively.
Very important, as the overseas homes are the primary focus of the work and fundraising of Ryder-Cheshire Australia. Carolyn Tapley briefed us on developments in New Zealand.
Several overseas volunteers – Robyn Leeder, Christian Hiss, and Patricia McDonell, described their experiences at Raphael and Klibur Domin respectively. It is clear that for most volunteers these placements are life transforming, and for some become a long-term
commitment.

Saturday afternoon was engaged in a Workshop
“Vision 2025”, with facilitator Robert Gardiner. President Rory introduced his own vision which was followed by 3-minute presentations from all Foundations defining the challenges they see ahead. The delegates broke into small groups to explore ways to meet the challenges. The outcomes from the group work will provide a platform for the Ryder-Cheshire Australia Board and all committees to plan the way forwards.
The afternoon finished with a live interview with Tessa West, author of “Lady Sue Ryder of Warsaw: Single- minded Philanthropist.”, who joined us by interactive Skype from the United Kingdom. She shared many interesting observations and insights about Sue Ryder.

The Guest speaker at the Saturday night Conference Dinner was The Hon Tim Fischer AC, and what a treat that was !
From his perspective as an observer at the 1999 election when the people of Timor Leste chose independence, Tim talked about Timor Leste’s journey to statehood. He drew parallels with the Western Front of WWI, and went on to describe the role of Sir John Monash in the final months of the war. He finished by donating his book of railway adventures, “Trains Unlimited” for auction in support of Klibur Domin. It raised $250 on the spot! The audience showed its appreciation for Tim’s excellent speech and generous
gesture.

Tony McLennan, Melanie Williams and Carole McLennan of our new RCA supporter group in Traralgon, Gippsland.

A beautiful quilt designed, made and donated by Carole McLennan, was the object of a silent auction which raised a wonderful $800 !
Sunday morning held another treat with the showing of precious historical film footage from the early days of Raphael, tracked down by Hugh Elphinstone and Anne and Phillip Boyd. Proceedings wrapped up with a Q & A session which provoked interesting discussion and moved us further along the path of renewal.

Just a few need special mention:
Rory McEwen, President of Ryder-Cheshire Australia, for his energy, wisdom and leadership.

Terry Warr (RCA Website and Communications Co-ordinator) and Mike Moignard (President RCF Victoria)

Mike Moignard, Convenor of the Victorian Conference Working Group, and Master of Ceremonies and moderator for the Conference, and his team.
Terry Warr, computer and electronics whizz who managed the audio-visual aspects with such calm competence.
Sr Jane Gorey and committee members, staff and volunteers at the Victorian Homes for their warm welcome and ‘nothing is too much trouble’ support.

And a Very Special Mention: Evelyn Petters

Evelyn Petters (left) and Anthea Swann (RCF National Secretary). Evelyn has edited the Red Feather for the past sixteen years and after 36 issues she has resigned from the post. At the Conference, guest speaker The Hon Tim Fischer AC presented Evelyn with a Certificate of Appreciation from RCA.

Our best wishes go to Mount Gambier who will host the next Biennial Conference in 2020.

The Victorian Conference Working Group:
Mike Moignard, Don Hamilton, Peter McConnell, Kathy Oswin, Anthea Swann, and Barrie William.

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 NATIONAL PRESIDENT, RORY MCEWEN, VISITS RAPHAEL

 In his first year as the National President of Ryder-Cheshire Australia, Rory McEwen, has recently returned from a visit to Raphael. Below is his report.

Rory McEwen with Dr Gupta

My visit to Raphael commenced with two one day trips, the first into the foothills of the Himalayas where our jeep driver managed to deliver four of us safely to a small school in a tiny village to meet with around 50 parents and their disabled children. The journey along narrow winding mountain roads was not for the faint hearted. Marvelling at the women struggling up steep inclines, almost buried in huge loads of vegetation balanced on their heads, took our minds off the perils of the journey.

The gathering that awaited us at the end of our four hour trek had assembled for a briefing on managing and modifying challenging behaviours and to discuss sexuality and the disabled. Our talented presenters spoke in Hindi.  Luckily the accompanying slides were in English so I could get some feel for the animated discussion. Some of the parents, particularly the men,  didn’t seem to take kindly to some of the frank discussions but it was an overwhelming success. Continue reading  NATIONAL PRESIDENT, RORY MCEWEN, VISITS RAPHAEL

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

For Valour – an account of Leonard Cheshire’s wartime experiences

The Ryder Cheshire Foundation was founded by Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire.  This article about Leonard’s wartime experience is reprinted with kind permission of the editor of the magazine 90 Flypast August 2016.

 With four tours and 102 ‘ops’, many people regard Leonard Cheshire as the RAF’s greatest bomber pilot. Graham Pitchfork profiles an outstanding man.

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During his time at Merton College, Oxford. Chester born Leonard Cheshire joined the famous University Air Squadron. Mobilized at the outbreak of war he trained as a bomber pilot, flying with the Whitley-equipped 102 Squadron.

On the night of November 12/13, 1940 his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire over Cologne, igniting a flare in the bomb bay. A fierce fire was put out by the crew and Cheshire managed to bring the crippled bomber and its wounded crew back to base. He was awarded an immediate DSO, a very rare honour for a pilot officer. Continue reading For Valour – an account of Leonard Cheshire’s wartime experiences

The Story of the Red Feather

By Evelyn Petters

Editors past and present:

 Margaret Blaber 2000 Conf DinnerEvelyn Petters 2016

Margaret Blaber 1987 – 2001              Evelyn Petters 2003 – ongoing

At the Biennial Conference in April, Evelyn Petters, spoke about the history of our Newsletter, The Red Feather.  Here is an excerpt, starting with a letter written in 2001 by the former Editor, the late Margaret Blaber of Adelaide, SA.

“In mid-1987 I received a surprising phone call – would I be interested in organising a Newsletter for the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation?   There would be an honorarium.  …..  In half an hour a car arrived and I found myself at the home of Dame Roma Mitchell in East Terrace.  I was then introduced to Dame Roma, Leonard Cheshire and Sue Ryder.  Wow!  I was overawed at being “interviewed”.  Leonard offered me a cup of coffee and within a very short time I felt completely at ease.  I knew nothing about the Ryder-Cheshire organization, but I did know of Leonard Cheshire and his war time record.  It was a most unusual “interview”, more a conversation about what would be involved and an agreement that a monthly honorarium would be paid.   It never was.   It did not take me long to realise that the honorarium would be an expense that the organisation could ill-afford and the more I learned about Ryder-Cheshire the more I was happy to take on the task on a voluntary basis and did so for the next  15 years  …..  (and over 50 issues)” Continue reading The Story of the Red Feather