Saying goodbye to Malcolm and walking him to the corner

Yesterday, the Braidwood community celebrated and gave thanks for the life of a beautiful, gentle man, Malcolm Reynoldson.

St Andrew’s Church was packed for his funeral service. Malcolm was at the heart of our community.

There were some wonderful pictures in the order of service and they made me think about the memories we have of each other. The picture on the front was how I remember, Malcolm … in addition to the sage advice he gave me about gardening and life in general.

The back page of the order of service shared his life as a family man.

After a a very sensitive service at the church, those present were invited to walk with Malcolm’s coffin from the church to the corner of Elrington Street to see him off on his journey.

I thought this was a wonderful idea and one that gave his family, friends and admirers an opportunity to say a different kind of special goodbye.

Photo Credit

In the Church (Chris Nelson, Facebook)

Another kind of #ruokday

R U OK Day is on Thursday 13 September this year.

Braidwood had an early start with its Tune Up Day on 7 September. The event was organised to offer our local community the opportunity to meet at the Recreation Ground and access health and wellbeing services.

The organiser of the day, George Sherriff, has a close connection with R U OK through the OzHelp Foundation. The Braidwood event was a day to listen, ask, plan some action steps and set up ways to continue conversations.

I was there with the Braidwood Rural Fire Service. Our contribution to the day was to talk with anyone thinking about clarifying their bush fire readiness plans.

Over the nine hours of the day there was a constant stream of people taking advantage of the OZHelp consultancy, our bush fire awareness conversations and the host of other services available including: the rural health advisory program; Braidwood’s multipurpose service; rural finance advisors; NSW Department of Primary Industries; and livestock management experts.

Throughout the day I was mindful of the conversations going on throughout the Recreation Ground fuelled by excellent complementary coffee and the Braidwood Lions’ catering service.

As well as meeting lots of people in our community, I bumped into Frank Arsego who was working with OzHelp. Frank had just returned from Singapore after working there as Technical Director of basketball. Frank and I first met when we were both at the AIS in 2002.

Now that Frank is back he will be continuing his work with OZHelp and will bring his passion for sport into conversations with tradies in and around Canberra. Geore Sherriff, the event organiser, is the Braidwood Redbacks’ rugby union coach.

As part of my follow up conversations I will make sure I introduce them to each other.

Photo Credits

Frank Aresego (Todayonline, 2016)

George Sherriff (Braidwood Times, 8 May 2017)

Remembering Robert and his friends

It was a beautiful day here today in Braidwood, New South Wales.

The day before ANZAC Day.

Outside the 134 Coffee Shop, there were some brochures produced by the Braidwood RSL. I sat down with my two grandchildren, Ivy and Jolyon to read about Robert Geelan.

Robert was one of the 88 young men that left Braidwood for the First World War and did not return. (Braidwood RSL has a record of each of these young men in a project completed in 2015.)

Robert was 32 when he died in Belgium at the Menin Road on 20 September 1917. He enlisted on 31 July 1915 and was one of three members of his family (his father and brother were the other two) that went to the battlegrounds of the First World War.

Robert was from the Araluen valley near Braidwood a very long way from the Menin Road. Robert was wounded on the Western Front in 1916 but returned to the front lines.

The brochure gave the three of us the opportunity to talk about Robert and what it must have been like to be so far from home. Ivy and Jolyon think Araluen is a very long way from Braidwood so Robert’s journey was unimaginable. I explained that he also travelled by ship to get there.

Ivy and Jolyon will be walking in the ANZAC parade tomorrow with their school friends. This year they will be thinking about a boy from Araluen that left for Europe 103 years ago with his friends.

Photo Credit

Araluen Valley (Grahemec, CC BY-SA 4.0)