By Pauline Stewart
There’s a bench seat outside St John Op shop in Albert Street. It is made of macrocarpa, finely crafted and a plaque, specially printed, bears the name of Heather Lowe, previous Manager of the Whitianga St John Op Shop and also previous Finance Manager of the district office of St. John
Heather Lowe, a greatly admired, very competent, dedicated manager and leader for St. John, died suddenly, earlier this year. Her death was a shock and a deep loss to those who worked with her. Her absence was felt across the community. The team at St John Op Shop wanted to do something to honour Heather and to help the community remember her and her love for the work of St. John.
The idea and plan for a bench seat to be placed outside the Albert Street shop was conceived. Dot Cavanagh, a good friend of Heather and a co-worker, stepped in as temporary manager and with the volunteers, developed the idea. Richard Vettner, District Chair of St. John, took the task of finding the right kind of bench seat to Glenn Schache of the MenZshed. After some research, Glenn ordered a flat pack seat which arrived without too much delay from Australia. After constructing, strengthening and oiling it, plus adding two wheels to enable the seat to be brought in off the footpath at night, it was ready for unveiling at a special gathering of Heather’s community at the Op Shop.
The seat is pictured here, surrounded by many who worked with Heather as volunteers. At the gathering, the new Op Shop Manager, Bea Cox, expressed appreciation for the way the large team of volunteers had coped in a difficult time of loss and adjustment. The St John Chaplain offered a reflection on who and what gave Heather her meaning and followed this with a Blessing, not just for the bench seat and the service it will render, but for all who gathered and for Heather’s family.
The bench seat is comfortable, a place of rest for any passer by and a reminder that people’s commitment to help others is the fabric of a sustainable society. Thank you Heather Lowe.
Photo caption: The bench seat prepared by Glenn Schache of the Menzshed, in memory of Heather Lowe, surrounded by St John Op Shop volunteers and friends.
Glenn and Bea Cox new manager …..