Category Archives: Singleton Home

Vale Cheryl Germaine Nesbitt

I first met Cheryl at the beginning of 1968 in Sydney when my cousin brought her along to a Raphael fundraiser event. It was a Japanese luncheon prepared by Jenny at Barbara Coleman’s home in Sydney.

Cheryl joined Ryder-Cheshire for the next 50 years. She was a Director on the NSW Foundation for 12 years. We met again when she moved to the Hunter Valley and she joined the Singleton Ryder-Cheshire Support Group where, for many years, she was our President and Public Officer, maintaining her support of the Ryder-Cheshire NSW and the National Foundation. She sold copious Christmas cards.

With a background in Real Estate and Banking, her expertise and competence were invaluable. She was compassionate and generous, and had a unique balance of firmly standing up for what she believed was right, coupled with a sense of fun. She could turn her hand to anything, even running up the curtains forLocksley, the then Ryder-Cheshire Home in Singleton, NSW. It was under Cheryl’s watch that we incorporated and eventually wound up the Singleton Home, distributing the funds to other Ryder-Cheshire projects. She was delighted with the progress reports of that money being promptly utilised where needed.

She managed to make a mark with other causes as well; St. Michael’s Church and community groups in Wollombi, Family Support in Cessnock, St. Patrick’s Church baptisms in Singleton, St. George Bank Foundation and the National Party to name some, but Ryder-Cheshire was her favourite charity. Her hobbies were many; a talented artist, cook, gardener and perfect hostess.

A devout Catholic, her battle with cancer extended over four uncomplaining years. We saw her as brave, beautiful, and positive. In detail, she calmly organised her affairs so that her family would not be unduly burdened, attending to any maintenance issues. A fortnight before dying, she told a tradesman that he needed to expedite the job as she was going away soon, travelling.

Cheryl was an inspiration, a dependable friend. She shall not be forgotten. We all miss her deeply.

Anne Boyd

Raphael Installs Solar Power  

By installing solar panels, Raphael is working towards more sustainable ways of living and cutting down on energy costs.

Three Solar Water Heating Systems have already been installed which function at the TB Hospital, in the Kitchen cum Ava Vihar and in the Little White House. The installation of these was supported by the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) a Government venture. The Solar Power Plant was installed in October 2017 and comprises of two 25 kw each projects located on rooftops of the Day School and Dining Hall and Ava Vihar.

To encourage the use of solar/alternate energy, the Government of India offered a subsidy of up to 70% subsidy on the bench mark price to Trusts and Societies on a “first come, first served” basis. Raphael availed this government subsidy. As reported in the November 2017 Red Feather, the balance of $30,000 – which was to be the Raphael share – was met from the generous financial assistance provided by the Singleton Support Group, Australia. The on-grid Solar Power Plant, set up by M/s XPANZ Energy Solutions, is expected to have a life of twenty-five years. It will supply power to the Raphael campus between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm each day and will operate all the electrical appliances, thus reducing our electricity consumption. It is a significant forward looking initiative that goes to fulfill our objective of making Raphael a green campus.

Raphael appreciates the good offices of Ryder-Cheshire Australia in making this grant possible. We are indeed beholden to the Singleton Support Group, Australia and a Plaque at the site of the Solar Power plant commemorates the kindness of the donors.

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