Gift of a lifetime
Thursday, 5th June, 2014
By Nick Gibbs
The lives of a local couple have changed for the better thanks to the charity of a host of Broken Hill community groups.
Gayle Bessell-Florence and her husband Robert can be seen regularly walking the streets, with Robert typically pushing his wife on her manual wheelchair.
The routine has worked for years and kept Robert super fit in the process, however as they both weren’t getting any younger, the idea of an electric wheelchair was floated.
The couple have both taken part in a computer course at TAFE and it was after Gayle began volunteering at the BH and District Hearing Resource Centre to practice her data entry skills that the plan gathered momentum.
CEO Anne Woods said the centre sent letters to community groups around the city to ask for contributions and kicked in $500 to get the ball rolling.
“The response we had was amazing,” she said.
Financial donations came from a broad range of groups including the BH Y’s Men’s Club,
BH Lions, Silver City Charities, Walk Tour volunteers, the Helping Hands Group and private residents.
Gayle received her brand new electric wheelchair yesterday and was touched by at the generosity shown by the city.
“It’s the best thing that will ever happen to me,” she said, warning Robert he would have to make sure he keeps up with her from now on.
BH Lions Club president-elect Geoff Lehmann said he was pleased the organisation was able to contribute.
“I’ve known Gayle and Robert for many, many years and this will make life easier for both of them,” he said.
Trevor Adams and Shirley Garrard of Silver City Charities agreed the only negative was that the wheelchair wasn’t bought sooner, explaining the group kicked in the remainder of the balance when they received the letter.
Helping Hands member Bev Obree was also more than happy to get involved in the project, matching the group’s $100 donation from her own pocket.