Volunteering is a vocation for Ian

Posted on Monday, May 18, 2020

This week is National Volunteer Week, and we want to take the opportunity to celebrate each of our wonderful volunteers who dedicate their time and generosity to support Brightwater clients.

Brightwater currently has 376 volunteers who give their time to support the social, cultural and spiritual wellbeing of our clients, engaging them in meaningful activities that significantly impact the lives of our clients.

Piano playing music enthusiast Ian Murray has volunteered with Brightwater for more than 17 years, playing the piano for residents at The Village every week since 2002.

“For the first 10 years as a volunteer, I also did gardening and woodwork. I got the shed set up properly at The Village; we had a good thing going on, we made bird nests and flower pots, things that residents and I could make together.”

“(Before COVID-19) I would come in every Thursday to play the piano to a group of about 30 residents… I play songs that they know and can sing along to, songs that spark their long term memory.  Residents love to singalong to the ones they know; they love the music from the 50’s and 60’s. It’s good when you play for people, and I really get a kick out of seeing them enjoy it. Music brings something out people, residents can listen to music on the radio but live music changes them.”

Ian says he has a great deal of respect for Brightwater and he planned to become a Brightwater volunteer once he retired.

“My mother-in-law - a gorgeous lady - was a client at Brightwater Inglewood in the 1980’s and her treatment was absolutely magnificent. I promised myself that when I retired I would become a volunteer at Brightwater.”

“The staff are great, they work so hard, and I admire them so much.”

Ian’s passion for music is long-standing, and although he can’t see residents at The Village during COVID-19 visitor restrictions, he’s been playing the piano more than ever.

“I started to learn the piano as a seven year old and I’ve played ever since, I also taught music at a school for a time, I’ve played a lot. In the last four weeks I’ve played hundreds of songs, all my favourites, I love anything from crooners all the way through to Roy Orbison. I love classical music too, including Tchaikovsky, I love all music.”

“The first song I’ll play when I come back is ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, the residents love that song.”

Ian says the key to volunteering in aged, is patience.

“You’ve got to have patience, and you’ve got to care about people. You’ve just got to give it a go, even one day a month is better than no days a month, it is great coming in and adding something to the residents’ day.”

“When my late wife – she was a saint – passed away, I was determined I would never let myself get upset after that, and that made me learn to be patient, and that patience does me good.”

Ian’s passion and positive outlook on life is hard not be inspired by. You can find out more about how to volunteer at Brightwater here.