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The Buckingham Gardens resident penned his life story in a couple of exercise books, telling his story despite possessing limited literacy skills. He was desperate to see his story told before he passes on.
Lynda Wiles, Seniors Chaplain at Buckingham Gardens met with John and he entrusted his precious books to her to read.
Amongst their pages, Lynda learnt that John had been abandoned by his birth mother, and ended up in a Christian Brothers orphanage in Western Australia. While there, he was never afforded a proper education, and to this day he has a low literacy level. John and the other boys at the orphanage instead slaved away constructing buildings and enduring all forms of abuse.
When he was finally old enough, he left the orphanage and enlisted with the army where he had a long history of military service. He also married and had a family.
Lynda was moved by his journey. She discussed with John her idea to find a suitably qualified volunteer with the skills to have his story written properly for him. In this way, John’s story could be passed on for others to read into the future when he is no longer here.
She put the call out for a volunteer who could help write his story out properly.
“I organised a position description for a person with the right skill set. Amazingly, a staff member from another aged care service put their hand up. Bec Watson holds a Bachelor of Historical Inquiry and Practice; a Master of Arts and is currently undertaking a Masters of Information Management. Bec has a passion for history. She has spent almost 12 months working on this project including sourcing additional information and photographs with outstanding results,” Lynda said.
“I was able to gift the bound and printed version of John’s life story to him. He was excited and thrilled beyond measure and kept on thanking me for making it happen.”
Lynda has organised to have more copies printed, so that John can send his story on to some of the other men he is still in contact with from the orphanage in Western Australia.
Find out more about our recent endeavours in the latest edition of Networking.