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Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Page: 114


Mrs McINTOSH (Lindsay) (19:35): In my first year as a member of parliament representing my community of Lindsay, I have not been more honoured to be in this position than over the last few weeks where we have also experienced some of the most devastating impacts of coronavirus in our whole country. It is in this time that our most vulnerable have been in need and their families in anguish. To these families, it is that you reached out to me when you needed help and it was our conversations and your determined advocacy that enabled me in turn to be the strongest of advocates for you.

Tonight it is with great privilege and sadness that I share with you a couple of the stories of the loved ones who have been lost in Newmarch House, as expressed to me by their loving family members. Some 18 people have sadly passed away in Newmarch House since coronavirus entered the facility. We hear the numbers in the news, but we must always remember that every life matters. Each of these 18 people had full lives, families who are now grieving and stories. And tonight I stand in this chamber to share just a few of those with you.

Virginia Clarke shared with me the wonderful memories of her father. Ronald Kirby Farrell was born on 28 May 1925 in Roseville. Virginia said Ron was looking forward to celebrating what would have been his 95th birthday this month. At the age of 18 Ron joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942 and served for four years in Cairns on the Catalina flying boats until the end of World War II. He returned to Sydney where he married Margot and they had seven children. Ron and Margot built a home in Forestville, and Ron started the very first bushfire volunteer brigade 71 years ago which today is known as the Davidson Rural Fire Brigade.

Ron came to Western Sydney and started the first Probus Club in St Marys. He was also involved in Neighbourhood Watch. He loved his community and was so proud of his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great grandchildren. He was a proud supporter of the Penrith Panthers and the Sydney Swans, and he also won the footy competition last year at Newmarch House. Remembering her father, Virginia said, 'He was a very loving father, a good provider and always proud of us no matter what we did. We all loved him.'

As we all celebrated Mother's Day over the weekend, sadly, two mothers were lost at Newmarch. Jane Finlay and I have been sharing many calls over these last few weeks. She was the very first person who reached out to me at Newmarch, and we only know each other through this experience but she has shown herself to be a very strong woman just like her mother.

Fay Rendoth has been remembered as a lovely family woman. Fay and her late husband Ken were married for more than 70 years, and two weeks ago would have celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary. Fay has three daughters, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren and gave a lot to her family. I know Jane is proud of her mother who at 92 fought her way to clear herself of this terrible virus.

Today I received a beautiful letter from a husband who dearly loved his wife. She was born on 4 November 1948 to strict Roman Catholic parents, one of nine children. She and her husband met in May 1968 and married on 4 September 1971, and they had two boys. They held very strong religious beliefs in the Roman Catholic Church and went to mass every Sunday together. Her husband described her as kind and gentle, and she loved her family. She doted on her grandchildren and her daughters-in-law. Every week she visited her daughter-in-law's sick mother in a nursing home. Whilst visiting she would talk to other residents. She would often go up to complete strangers if she saw they were in distress. She gave herself to the church and helped any way she could. For years she held prayer meetings at their own home, and the meetings only finished when she entered Newmarch House in March 2018. In her husband's words, 'I hope this gives you some insight into this very beautiful person.'

To all the families, I want you to know that I am with you and our community is with you. May all the people who have lost their lives to coronavirus in Newmarch House rest in peace, and their families know that our community is with them—prayers, love and comfort.