War Widows’ Guild of Australia (Qld) Friendship Day Memorial and Reception
Commander Savvakis and Mrs Savvakis; Mayor Tom Tate and Mrs Tate; Queensland State President, Mrs Jenny Gregory; senior representatives of the RSL; veterans; proud members of the Guild; ladies and gentlemen. Good afternoon to you all.
I thank the President of the Gold Coast South sub-branch, Mrs Bron Drinkwater, for the invitation to attend today’s memorial service and this civic reception which the Mayor is graciously supporting.
As Patron of the War Widows’ Guild of Australia in Queensland, and as your Governor, I take great interest in the work of your organisation.
Kaye and I had the great honour of attending a Friendship Day lunch with Guild members in 2015 at the Kedron-Wavell Services Club in Brisbane.
It was a moving occasion for us, and memorable for the profound admiration and gratitude we felt – we still feel – for the Guild members we met.
Each member of the War Widows’ Guild has a unique perspective on military service and its true cost.
And even though you are bound together by the most difficult and distressing of circumstances, it gives me great comfort, as Patron, to know this band of ladies and men do so much to assist one another.
You are also bound together by your organisation’s proud history.
We as a State owe a debt of gratitude to the late Jessie Mary Vasey who formed the Guild just two years’ after the Second World War – a War which sadly claimed the life her husband, Major General George Alan Vasey.
Her mission – and that of all founding members – was to build a supportive framework of strong women who could bond together to protect the interests of war widows, many suffering isolation, grief and financial hardship.
It is a mission so beneficially carried on by you all. And it remains a vital one. Unfortunately, there are contemporary widows and partners that have the most terrible of reasons to join the Guild.
But in the Guild they find comfort and support – through words, yes, but also through a simple look of understanding, in a warm embrace, in the chance to put aside the strain of mourning to smile once again.
As Governor and Patron, I thank the Queensland Guild and the Gold Coast South sub-branch for organising today’s memorial service and reception.
I applaud members for taking time to be here. I know how much everyone values these annual gatherings, and that some members have travelled long distances to be here.
I thank you all once again – all of you, magnificent, mutually supportive Queenslanders that you are – for continuing to embrace those who are left behind.