Forty years of friendship

Forty years of friendship

Share and Care has been changing lives for 40 years. 

Formerly Marrawah and Redpa Share and Care, the group formed on August 21, 1979 and last month, with founding member Ann Nicholls, celebrated the past four decades. 

“Well I was the sister down in Marrawah for many years,” said Mrs Nicholls, of her nursing days. 

“When I went around the district on my rounds I found a lot of people didn’t go out.” 

This sparked a conversation with the local GP Dr Tim Flanagan and fellow nurses. 

Word spread of a social group starting up. The day was set, Marrawah Memorial Hall was booked and transport was arranged for those without. 

The idea was to bring together older community members who had become isolated after the loss of family and to create cultural change by providing social opportunities. 

“The company, that’s how it started,” said Mrs Nicholls. 

“There are some I wouldn’t see from month to month otherwise. And I’ve made many new friends.” 

Meeting monthly since then, the group shares a cuppa and a spread of savouries and sweets before sharing in conversations, activities and day trips and welcoming guest speakers to share their own experiences. 

Recently Kathy Taylor shared her experience of living in Tanzania for eight years. 

Every year, the group met at the town hall for a Christmas dinner put together by Ned Hine and Sue Marshall of the Marrawah Progress Association. To this day the group still ventures to Marrawah for its Christmas celebration. 

Over the years as members have grown older and moved to be closer to Smithton, the group too has moved its base, now Smithton District Hospital’s Community Room. 

Fellowship remains the reason why so many enjoy Share and Care, with as many as 24 locals joining. 

From a simple idea to bring a small community together, this group has flourished throughout the past 40 years. 

As fellow member Sylvia Godman puts it: “Ann has been the facilitator, ardent advocate and dedicated support member from the beginning.” 

Share and Care meets on the first Wednesday of the month. To find out more, chat to Sylvia Godman on 0417 325 183 or Ada Baldock on 6457 1235. 

Marrawah and Redpa Share and Care met on August 21 at Smithton District Hospital’s Community Room to mark 40 years of fellowship.