Volunteer brings years of joy to Brightwater residents

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Our Brightwater volunteers can become like family, and the time and effort that they give to our residents is priceless.

From providing theatrical entertainment, helping out at the hairdressing salon, to forming one-one-one connections with residents - Brightwater volunteer of 13 years Lyn Brown has made a significant impact to the lives of many residents at Brightwater Birralee.

I started volunteering in August 2007. I retired from work in June that year and got a bit bored at home, so I went on the computer to look at volunteering positions and that’s how I found out about the volunteer program at Brightwater.

There were three positions available and I applied for the hairdressing assistant one at Birralee as I always wanted to be a hairdresser. I also applied for the Oxford Gardens position, and before I could apply for the third position I received a call from Brightwater!

Lyn is passionate about music and theatre, and with that passion, her talent, and some friends in the right places, Lyn created the entertaining group – the Limelighters.

Brightwater asked me what I liked to do in my spare time and I said I was a musician – and they said ‘maybe you could do a concert!’

So we created the Limelighters, it started out as three people, myself on the piano, my partner Robert played the guitar and a theatre friend of ours who could sing. Before we knew it there were 13 people in the group.

We put a program together with old songs that we thought the residents might like, and we had costumes as well. The Limelighters became so popular that we were being asked to perform at seniors groups, retirement homes, even at Perth Town Hall.

Residents enjoyed the dancing and the comedy. We made it as entertaining as we could.

After the Limelighters, Lyn went back to Birralee and helped out in the Hairdressing salon for many years.

I kept doing Hairdressing at Birralee for many years and then after that stint I would come to visit residents, I’d sit with them and have chat. I would see six residents every Tuesday, most of them I had already made friends with at the Hairdressers, but one of the residents I visited I didn’t know very well and he kept to himself quite a bit… anyway we ended up getting on like a house on fire! We would talk about politics, food and all kinds of topics. 

Lyn also helped put together Christmas celebrations for residents at Birralee.

We also did a pantomime at Christmas time about four or five years ago, I got one of my theatre friends to direct and we got together some costumes from my local theatre group, The Wanneroo Repertory. We put on Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

We also put on Christmas Carols one year and the residents loved it! There have been a lot of fun times.

After 13 wonderful years, Lyn recently retired as a Brightwater volunteer. She is keen to maintain her friendships with the residents at Birralee, and plans to keep in contact with them.

I still write to the six residents I would regularly visit and I will continue to write to them. I just write about the things we used to talk about, their hobbies and their families…I don’t want them to forget me!

When asked about what advice Lyn would give to anyone interested in volunteering with Brightwater, Lyn said – do it.

You’ll have the best time and it’s so rewarding. It’s different from going to work, with volunteering you don’t have to do it; you’re there because you want to be. I would recommend it to anybody.

I got to know everybody at Birralee. I got on well with staff; they were always so helpful, no matter what. It’s been lovely.  

We would like to thank Lyn for the many years she has been with Brightwater. She has been an incredibly valued member of the Brightwater family and has touched the lives of many residents and staff.