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Donor inspired by Army's love and care for parents

14 May 2020

Donor inspired by Army's love and care for parents

John's care at The Salvation Army's Burrangiri Aged Care Plus Respite Centre brought him back to his Salvationist roots. Pictured here with his family in 1930 with Commandant Joseph Griffith and his second wife Eveline (he remarried after first wife Mary died) and his three sons John (in SA uniform), Joseph Junior and William. 

It was the care given to her father John – and then later her mother Ruth – through The Salvation Army’s Burrangiri Aged Care Plus Respite Centre in Canberra that Annie Didcott says inspired her to leave a financial gift to The Salvation Army in her Will.

Because of her generosity, Annie is an “Honoured Friend” of The Salvation Army, and her charitable decision stems from a family link to The Salvation Army that came full circle.

Annie’s grandparents – Joseph and Mary Griffith – were Salvation Army officers in the United Kingdom in first half of the 20th century. Their second son, John (Annie’s father) grew up as an “officers’ kid”, but his faith began to falter after the accidental death of his little sister, and he eventually drifted from his faith and his Salvation Army roots.

Annie says of her father: “He was born into a Salvation Army family and raised as a true and devoted member, until he reached his late teens when both he and his older brother, Joe, went in different directions.

“He claimed to be an atheist for decades, but all his early learning stood him in good stead. He was an extremely loyal and loving father and husband – honest and true, who acknowledged equal rights for women, worked very hard in hospital administration before gaining an Oxford degree in his mid-30s and moving into academia. His achievements in a wide range of community projects were too numerous to detail.”

A move to Australia ensued and it wasn’t until late in life that John renewed links with The Salvation Army through the Aged Care Plus Respite Centre at Burrangiri. 

Annie smiles: “John had come back home! He fitted into their community from the word go and loved everything about it. His wonderful baritone voice rang out as all the songs of his youth came back to him and he recalled all the words. As his condition worsened, they began to escape him, but still he sang the melodies providing his own words!

“Burrangiri’s care and concern for all their clients was a godsend for our mother and enabled John to be cared for at home until his end, when he died peacefully in his own bed at the age of 84. We all loved him dearly and didn’t want him to have to go into residential care.

“Then Ruth in her turn went there to give us a break when we were caring for her in the ensuing years. It meant everything to us and it meant everything to Ruth, especially as John was so happy there.
“My sister Sue and I love The Salvation Army for all it did for our beloved parents. Our mother remembered the Army in her Will and I am following suit. My father never really did leave The Salvation Army and I am only too grateful for the way in which he was accepted back into its kindly arms at the time of my family’s need.” 

This week is Include a Charity Week, encouraging Australians to make a gift to a charity as part of their will.


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