Every first Monday of the month, Hills resident Graeme Rothwell makes his way to Anglicare’s Brian King Gardens to play piano for the residents.
The 64-year-old, legally blind musician has been volunteering his time at the nursing home for more than four years.
“The condition I have is called retinitis pigmentosa. It’s a degenerative genetic disorder,” Graeme explains.
“I’ve now lost most of my peripheral vision. But I am grateful for the small amount of vision I still have.”
It makes playing the piano a little tricky at times. Especially when Graeme can no longer read the music. He still has a great memory though, and relies on it to entertain the residents.
“I have the ability to play old hymns and choruses that suits the Monday devotions group at Brian King Gardens. As long as the residents find my playing enjoyable, I will keep playing for them,” says Graeme.
Castle Hill resident, Len Ryan, joined Graeme two years ago. He sings to Graeme’s accompaniment to encourage residents to sing along.
Leading the group devotions Monday morning was long term Chaplaincy volunteers and another Castle Hill resident, Elinor Holland.
“Every moment matters,” Elinor told the residents gathered that day. “While we are still around, God has work for us to do.”
While their bodies may be frail, Elinor reminded the group that they could still smile; make people feel loved; and they could pray.
“The time we have left, matters. It matters to God. Even in our darkest, loneliest moments, we Christians can encourage each other and hope for eternal joy.”
For Graeme, playing the piano at Brian King Gardens is another way to keep the memory of his father alive.
“He was at this home before he passed away,” says Graeme.
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