Great Grandfather Bob Sadler had no idea he was living alongside two veterans, Eric Wainwright and Ron Ridyard, from the British Army in Bupa’s Bellarine aged care home in Geelong, Australia. In an unusual tale, the three British seniors were all honoured with commemorative service medals this year, and developed a new unbreakable bond.
Shane Clarke, a volunteer at the care home, wanted to make a real difference in the lives of others. He often spends time with residents in the shed, socialising, playing games and getting creative. He realised just by coincidence that three former British soldiers had all been living together, unaware of their shared history.
Shane found out the men were entitled to medals which they had never received, as they were living in a new country. He began joining up the dots and in his spare time communicated with the British Embassy to ensure the men were formally recognised for their service.
78 year old Bob Sadler said: “It’s a strange thing you know, we come from very different backgrounds but it’s like a brotherhood. When we wear our uniform or when we wear our berets, we’re exactly the same. When we are together we are just three old timers who are back in the services again.”
The home held a special celebration to honour the men and their new badges, in recognition of their past, and their incredible history and contribution. The relationship and recognition has brought new enthusiasm to the three friends, who now stand up just that little bit taller, and walk with a little spring in their steps.
“It’s amazing to think they’ve walked the same paths, but never before met,” said Bupa Bellarine General Manager Jannie Piercy.
“The dedication from Shane has given the veterans a new found friendship. The three men now eat their lunches together, and spend time at the Return and Services League of Australia (RSL) club together, so it’s given them a wonderful new connection. It is all down to our volunteers and team putting the Person First, going above and beyond to make a difference to the lives of our residents.”