Beryl Grant: a lifelong carer

An appropriate appreciation of the life and contribution of Beryl Grant in a brief space cannot hope to
succeed. Beryl passed away on Saturday 4 November.

Her chosen career was the caring profession of nursing. In 1958, shebbegan her long and most significant work as Matron of Ngala. She continued in that caring role until 1980, having influenced many, many people – nurses, babies, children, mothers and adoptive families.

Her contributions to our broader West Australian society were recognised with an OBE in 1976 and an AO in 1990. Amongst other things, she served as a magistrate of the Perth Children’s Court; the Chair of the Child Care Service Board; and Chair of the State Government’s Inquiry into Prostitution.

Beryl’s contributions to the church have been widely acknowledged. She had significant input into numerous committees: the Boardof the Australian Inland Mission; the Assembly Standing Committee; the Uniting Church Homes Board; and Scotch College Council to mention a few. Beryl was the first female Moderator of the Synod of WA (1985-1987), Chair of the Presbytery of Perth 1996 and Chairperson of Uniting Church Homes from 1992.

Beryl rather enjoyed the experience of surprising, or perhaps even shocking, her audience when the opportunity presented itself. She delighted in launching herself onto the all-male Scotch College Council, or speaking of ‘her girls’ when addressing the Uniting Church Synod on the Inquiry into Prostitution. But she would do so with a lightness of touch combined with an integrity of purpose that would result in a sympathetic and positive response.

Beryl never stopped being a carer through her long life. We can speak personally of the care we received at her hands. During Geoff’s time at MLC she would, as Moderator, fulfil her official responsibilities always conveying the support and encouragement of the church. Lillian found her advice invaluable when she became Moderator. And when we became members of All Saints Floreat Uniting Church, Beryl was officially appointed our ‘Carer’.

That’s just what she did, very consistently, over many years. There are hundreds who have experienced the care she was always prepared to give. We are merely two of those people.

Geoff and Lillian Hadley

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