KIT Blog

Thank you to Anne Steed, Chair of WA State Committee and all Western Australia supporters

Written by  Heather Newton, The Leprosy Mission WA State Committee Recently, the WA State Committee held a final Supporters Afternoon Tea in Perth, WA. It was a celebration of the events of the last 8 years, since the closure of The Leprosy Mission Australia’s State Offices in 2012. It was a blessed time to reflect, and to honour Anne Steed as she retired from committee service. Over 50 faithful supporters attended. This was encouraging particularly given the continuing COVID situation. The hard-working committee and passionate local supporters have continued to support people affected by leprosy. Over the last 8 years this has been through around 115 events. These have included supporters and fundraising events, speaking engagements and prayer meetings. Many led by Committee Chair Anne Steed until her retirement. Anne maintained the committee by encouraging others to join. Thank you and Congratulations Anne Steed — for your continuous work as a dedicated, committed, caring and humble servant of Christ.  Anne began her interest in leprosy in 1968 when she was sponsored to go to Papua New Guinea (PNG) as part of a Methodist youth project. “39 young people from across Australia went.5 were from WA. I was one of them. I was also fortunate to be able to stay on another 6 months into 1969,” recalls Anne. Anne was a newly qualified Medical Laboratory Technologist. She worked at the leprosy and TB hospital on Gemo Island, across the harbour from PNG’s capital Port Moresby. Prior to Anne’s appointment, the hospital on Gemo Island couldn’t get the pre-op skin smears done quickly or accurately enough at the Taurama Hospital. So, it was a blessing that Anne would be able to provide this service onsite. However, at that time, they didn’t even have a laboratory! Anne’s first job would be to set one up! Quite a challenge for the ‘raw recruit’! “It was a huge, and interesting learning curve,” Anne told us, “But I was able to set up a lovely simple laboratory, that was able to cover the small range of tests that were needed for both the Leprosy and the TB patients.....about 120 patients at one time. It continued to be staffed by local and overseas people until the hospital closed in the early 1980’s.” Anne worked alongside Australian surgeon, Dr Ken Clezy. Ken was based at The Leprosy Mission PNG in Madang. He would come down to Port Moresby to operate at Taurama Hospital. Then go down east to the islands to Ubuya Hospital. By the time he came back through Port Moresby, Anne and the crew would have a second lot of patients ready for surgery. On returning to WA, Anne became a supporter of The Leprosy Mission Australia. But it was not until 1985, when Val Bock came over from Melbourne to set up the new WA committee, that she then joined. Anne served the committee diligently and faithfully for 35 years, many of those as Committee Chair. Anne formed Auxiliary groups in Kalgoorlie (7 years) and Busselton (9 years), which continued for some years after she left. She also encouraged Beth Douglas to start the Mandurah Auxiliary, which continued under a number of leaders until 2017. In 1988, Anne also joined The Leprosy Mission Australia’s National Council. Thank you, Anne, on behalf of all the people affected by leprosy you have helped. Thank you on behalf of The Leprosy Mission Australia. Thank you for all the lives you have touched. God bless you! At the event we reminisced over photos of events in Perth over the last 8 years. It was a good time to share about the amazing leprosy work still happening around the world today. I shared insights from the recent Supporter Tour to Nepal before COVID closures. Many of us will continue to strive to defeat leprosy and transform lives into the future. A huge thank you to all who continued to support people affected by leprosy at WA State Committee events.  Everything achieved was only possible through the fabulous support of the WA State Committee. [pictured top left]: L-R: Maureen Pease, Merrilyn Hambleton, Barry Waldeck, Anne Steed, Joyce Clarke, Heather Newton, Gerry Chapman. Thankyou. We give thanks to God for all WA State Committee members past and present. God bless you and keep you always. Amen.

If God is stirring your heart to serve The Leprosy Mission in your state, please contact Margaret Lambeth margaretl@leprosymission.org.au or FREECALL 1800 537 767 during office hours.