The Branch appoints its first Welfare Officer
The branch has taken another big step forward on the Welfare front. We have appointed Mrs Jeanette Harper (right) as our new Welfare Officer. Jan, as she likes to be known, is a retired state registered nurse (SRN) and is well qualified in other areas of care as well. Jan's late husband Harry was in the Merchant Navy with the NZSC, and her three brothers also went to sea. Jan's late eldest brother, Colin, served in the Royal Navy during the war as a stoker in minesweepers and joining the MN after the war, Jan's late second brother, Kevin, was a cook in the Merchant Navy, younger brother Ian also went to sea in the catering department and is now one of our two Standard bearers carrying the colours. Jan visits several of our members who are under the weather at least every two weeks and unable to attend branch meetings.
She recently reported back to our committee that a couple of our members are having trouble with their eyesight, and one in particular is using a tape cassette for audio books that his wife gets from the public library. The trouble with this way of working is that nearly all the audio books are woman's love stories. The branch committee have pushed the boat out through our 'Welfare & Remembrance Fund' and have bought two state of the art CD MP3 players that will be lent to members who wish to listen to books. On top of that branch representative s/m Billy Dobson is going to download books from the web so that he can build up a library for our members. Getting this service set up has taken only a week. As true Northerners, we feel that we must do what ever we can to help our old shipmates.
Jan, is following in the footsteps of her late brothers and younger brother, by joining the branch, but as a full associate member. She recently stated that, "This is one of the best things I have ever done, it gives me something to do, and I love seeing these ex-Merchant seamen and making sure that they are well cared for."