Popular Goulburn character Wendell Rosewarne might be gone but his generosity and selflessness have survived.
The former much-loved postie and charity bike rider donated $25,000 to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance before his passing on January 15.
Mayor Bob Kirk, a good friend of Wendell’s, said there was no opportunity to hold a ceremony before his death, due to illness. Instead, Cr Kirk was invited to the function at the Alliance’s Canberra office last Wednesday.
“He was a man who wore his heart on his sleeve,” the Mayor said of Wendell’s fundraising effort.
The cause was close to his heart. In 2008 he cycled more than 800km with trusty dog Monty in his basket from Goulburn to Canberra, Gundagai, Wagga Wagga,Temora, Cootamundra, Cowra, Crookwell and home again. Over the 10 days he raised $30,000 for the Spastic Centre and Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Along the way he dropped in at several centres catering for children with disabilities.
“I visited the fantastic kids at a school for the handicapped in Cowra and even though I’m a grown man, my eyes welled up with tears,” Wendell said at the time.
“Then there was the man in the wheelchair who told me ‘when you’re riding up those hills, Wendell, I am behind you,’ as well as the kid who donated $2 from his lunch money, and the Vietnam Veteran who chased us and bought us all a drink.”
Goulburn Spastic Council president at the time, Pat Moore, supported him during the tour.
Cr Kirk said he was able to meet some of the people who would benefit from the $25,000 donation to the Alliance.
“There was the four-year-old grandson of a Goulburn resident who has been receiving care at the Alliance’s regional centre in Scullin, but the money is not just for Canberra,” he said.
“There is also a Goulburn connection through the Workers Club, which works in association with other local organisations (to support cerebral palsy), and a connection with The Crescent School.”
The Alliance’s ACT fundraising manager Nathalie Maconachie said would be used be used for:
- Gym Packages – five sessions for older people who have not had access to therapy for some time to assist with health and engagement in the community and forming relationships;
- Services for newly diagnosed people in the region – providing therapy urgently as babies are suspected of receiving a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy as well as social work support for families;
- Parents Group Goulburn – A monthly meeting of mainly mothers of children with a disability in Goulburn. Parents meet and have created a network that has been running for several years. However government funding for it was cut last year and the Alliance has been supporting it. The group aim to support each other through informally assisting each other to learn about services.
“This incredibly generous personal donation will ensure we are able to keep providing vital support to over 500 families living with disability in the Canberra and Goulburn region,” Ms Maconachie said.
Fourteen-year-old Cerebral Palsy Alliance client Eleanor Dyne agreed.
“It will go to a lot of good, to help people like me get their strength back and work hard,” she said.