Blue Haven Illawarra | Friends of Blue Haven take a step back
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Friends of Blue Haven take a step back

After 46 years, the Friends of Bonaira Aged Care Committee plans one more fundraising activity – a Mother’s Day stall – before the group is dissolved at the end of this financial year.

President Annette Young thanks all the past and present committee members for their support and hard work.

“Over the years, many thousands of dollars have been raised,” Annette says. “I could fill a page listing all the things the Lifestyle Team have been able to purchase to provide enjoyment, activities and entertainment for the residents.”

The committee, originally formed in August 1977 under the chairmanship of Alderman Geoff Honey, was called the Blue Haven Retirement Village Ladies Auxillary. It later changed its name as more men became involved.

In 2010, the Friends bought a new bus after raising $60,000 in partnership with the Kiama Freemasons. In 2018, at the Annual Blue Haven Fete under the stewardship of Col Rathbone, a record $20,000 was raised.

In 2019, at the 40th anniversary of the opening of the original Blue Haven Retirement Village and the completion of the Blue Haven Bonaira Complex, Annette noted that it was a coincidence that Alderman Honey’s son, Mayor Mark Honey, cut the anniversary cake.

At that opening a book called ‘Blue Haven the first 40 years’ by Nick Hartgerink was sold, a great record of the history of the Blue Haven village.

“Since Aged Care moved to Bonaira, we have continued to raise funds and support the Lifestyle Team who provide therapy, leisure materials and entertainment for the residents. For example, in December, we paid for the hire of two mini-buses to transport residents to a Christmas Concert in Nowra at a cost of $720.”

Committee member Mercy Kibbey, from Kiama Downs, says that her Dad, who was in Blue Haven for five years, benefited greatly from the wonderful concerts and performers organised by the Friends, including the petting zoo and especially the visit by Bushman, the big horse.

“The big horse was such a wonderful thing to see. It was led into people’s rooms to visit them and it had a really big effect on many of those residents. People who live in this aged care home really appreciate all the work that the Friends have done for them,” she says.

Despite the organisation’s long and successful history – almost 46 years – the Friends found themselves facing a difficult decision. With the committee’s numbers dwindling and members aging, the group has regretfully taken the steps to disband. The final meeting on Monday 3 April marked the end of an era.

Lifestyle co-ordinator at Blue Haven Bonaira, Susi Delamont told the committee that they have already helped purchase Mother’s Day frames for residents.

She said, “The Friends have been such a wonderful support over 46 years, running stalls at the annual fete and raising money in other ways. I will miss those pickle jars from the fete.

“Thank you all for all the blood, sweat and tears you have put in enriching the lives of past and present residents, especially over Christmas. Thank you so much from the Lifestyle Team and all the residents.”

Despite the sadness of this decision, the Friends’ legacy will live on in the memories of the residents and staff of the Blue Haven Retirement Village. The organisation’s decades of dedicated service to the community made a real difference in the lives of the residents they served for so many years. Their contributions will not be forgotten.

(Reference: The Bugle 14 April, 2023)


20th Apr 2023



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