Shortly before Christmas 2015, we were deeply saddened to learn of the deaths of two of our oldest, long- time supporters – George Smith and Kath Myers. Both were in their nineties.
On 17th December George Smith passed away peacefully after a short illness. George was a Flying Officer in WWII, and in 1946 he founded the Odd Bods UK Association. Many Australian airmen had served in the UK in Royal Air Force squadrons and so were not aligned with any RAAF squadron. For the past 70 years, the Odd Bods UK Association has served as a group providing support and companionship for these wartime heroes. Their motto was “Pressing On…. Remembering”. George was a former President and the Association’s Secretary for more than 20 years.
When Leonard Cheshire and Sue Ryder visited Australia in 1959 after the establishment of Raphael in India, and again in 1964, many Austrlian airmen flocked to his support. Among them were George Smith and other members of the Odd Bods who decided that their Association should financially support Raphael. For more than 50 years, the Odd Bods have sponsored four residents at the home and, in more recent years, they have also provided donations for Ryder-Cheshire homes in Timor-Leste (Klibur Domin) and Melbourne (Ivanhoe). As Secretary, George was the chief instigator and motivator for these donations. More than $50,000 has been donated over the past 50 years. This has made s huge difference to the lives of many sick, disabled and destitute people.
George was awarded the French Legion of Honour for his courage during missions over France in WWII. He was a true gentleman, a devoted father, an astute guide and mentor, and a friend to many. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
Kathleen Myers passed away peacefully on 23rd December 2015. Kath and her husband Eric had been the stalwarts of the Geelong Support Group which was established in 1975. The Group was particularly active in the 1970s and 1980s and continued to support Raphael until Eric became ill in 1992 when it was wound up. However many Geelong supporters continued as sponsors and supporters directly with the Victorian Foundation. Also Kath encouraged her seven children to support the Foundation and most have become sponsors and supporters of Raphael.
Kath took over as President of the Geelong Support Group in 1980 and then rotated with Margaret Cody in the roles of President and Secretary until 1992. She was a wonderful mother and a lady of great charm and compassion. She spent her last few years in a retirment home in Ballarat where she attended activities arranged by the Ballarat Support Group. She will be sadly missed by us all.