Grati-Tuesday 14 April 2020

Written by AHQ

14 April 2020

Hi everyone!

Hope you all had a lovely Easter break the best way you could during our i-sew-lation time.

Whilst my family and I were disappointed we had to cancel our camping trip, we made the best of the situation staying at home.  Lots of gardening, cooking, sewing (of course!) , eating chocolate (double of course!!) driveway catch up with our street and video catch-ups with family and friends.

 We had a blast and it will go down as one of the most interesting (any dare I say – fun) Easters ever.  

Lots of lovely letters and photos this week, grab an Easter Egg and have a read – enjoy! 


Good Morning Jan-Maree,
Firstly, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the laundry bag. I, and all of the soldiers serving overseas appreciate what you are all doing for us.
The design I requested, musical in nature, is more that this will allow me to remain connected to my family whilst I am away. My wife is an early childhood music teacher, and therefore
we have 3 very musical children. I, myself, cannot play anything, but I would like to learn how to play the guitar one day.
My mother also worked in Nursing. She was an EN at aged care and hospice facilities in the Newcastle and Bundaburg areas before she became ill and passed away
last year. I am very grateful for all that nurses do. Our local communities and country would not survive without them, especially right now!
A little about me. I joined the Army as a Communicator back in 1998. I have currently served in the full time Army for the last 22+ years and am a Warrant Officer Class One.
 The Task Group is responsible to provide all forms of communications in order to
achieve the Australian Defence Force mission.
I am married and we have three children. When in Australia, I am currently posted to NT, whilst my family reside in QLD.
At the end of this year, I am hoping to post back to QLD so I can live with my Family. I have no plans to leave the Army anytime soon and definitely have a long time before I can consider retirement.
Anyway, I just wanted to write quickly to say THANK YOU! Everything you and the Aussie Hero team do for all current serving members overseas is greatly appreciated.
Please continue with the great work that you do to deliver laundry bags and quilts to our soldiers, sailors and Airmen/women.
Kindest Regards

Hi Kylie,

Thank you so much for the laundry bag you made for me it looks really good I received it last night via a helo vert rep (a helicopter delivered mail to the ship whilst at sea).
I’ve been a pies fan since I was a kid, guess you could say I was born into it. And now I have kids of my own they are also pies fans. May or may not have signed them up to membership when they were born.
That being said I now live in WA and have been there for my whole Naval career 12 years coming up to 13 in OCT, I’m happily married and have two beautiful kids, a  son is turning 5 in April and a daughter who is turning 3 in June (hoping to be home in time for her birthday). This is my 3rd Deployment to the Middle East so no stranger to long trips and my wife does an amazing job on the home front when I’m gone.
When I’m home though I like to spend my free time with my family and MTB riding (pretty good at falling off the bike then staying on it).
Again, a big thank you for the Laundry bag and the time you took to make it and personalise it.
Kind Regards

Hello Lyn,
Firstly, I would like to say Thank You for the amazing Quilt and Laundry Bag, it’s greatly appreciated and has made my laundry tasking ever so much easier.
Let me introduce myself, my role onboard the ship is working with Stores and everything logistics. I have a few people in my team that work for me and they have been doing a fantastic job so far. The trip so far has been interesting with COVID and everything going on, but we are all doing well and cracking on with the task at hand.
I have been married for 5 years now to a beautiful wife and together we have 2 beautiful daughters. One is in Year 4 at school and the other is in her last year of day-care and starts school next year. My wife is ex-navy and is currently working as a nurse at a GP Clinic, we met while we were both in the Navy and the rest is history. She has been doing the tough job of raising our 2 girls, working and doing uni so she has been extremely busy. We live in WA, close to the Navy base HMAS Stirling where our ship is based. I am originally from SA and I have been in the Navy about 18yrs; my mother and father still live there but I don’t get a chance to go and visit as much as I would like to, because as I am sure you know life gets busy. Both my wife and I are avid sports fans and as you know we support Port Adelaide in the AFL and Sydney Roosters in the NRL, when I have free time, I enjoy playing golf or keeping fit.
Thank you for your letter it was interesting finding out about your life/family and thank you for your commitment to Aussie Hero Quilts, it means so much to us out here receiving these packages.
I hope this email finds you well and thank you so much again for the Quilt and Laundry Bag it is very much appreciated, I will treasure it always.
Kind Regards,

Thank you; Sandy and your wonderful team,
I am in charge of the health team in my location. As you can guess it is very interesting/difficult times for all in the health professions, no matter where you are in the world.
I am very familiar with Coffs Harbour. Having grown up on the Sunshine Coast I definitely understand everyone flocking to experience the beauty of our home towns.
I want to give you the reasons for the quilt design. The poppies were for my Pa (artillery) and grant Aunt (signals) in WWII. My Nan also sewed the US flag for General Douglas MacArthur (I believed it was the one he raised in the Philippines when it was reclaimed by the US) …a story that came out a few years ago. They all loved flowers and the poppy is one of my own favourites. As you are on the coast, I am sure you understand the peace and serenity of walking on the seaside. The ocean is my safe place, a place I go when I need space, a place to relax, a place to surf and play in the sand, a place to patrol, a place to watch my husband and children have fun and enjoy, a place of fond memories growing up, a place of hundreds of surf carnivals all around our great nation, a place of camping, hiking, fishing and peace. The eagle is from my favourite bible verse Isiah 40: 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Thank you for the maroon, somehow you must have known it is my favourite colour! The quilt is so beautiful, I could not have imagined anything more perfect.
The quilt arrived at a perfect time. Both my mother-in-law and my grandmother had been admitted to hospital. They passed away on the 23 & 24 Mar. I’m telling you this, as I was comforted coming back to my room after the busy days, seeing my eagle flying over the ocean. You and your team gave me peace in this time, you reminded me that God was in control. I felt loved and appreciated, when I couldn’t be home for my husband who was very close to his mum and wasn’t allowed to visit or attend her funeral and couldn’t be with my mum and dad who have been unable to grieve with my sisters and their children due to current times.
I pray that you and your families remain safe at this time. I love Coffs and the rainforest and waterfalls in Dorrigo. The thought brings fond memories with family and friends.
Thank you again for your hard work. The difference it makes to each and everyone of us is truly uplifting. The excitement when someone gets their quilt and shows it off is tangible. You are truly wonderful, thank you.
God Bless

Good Afternoon Margaret,
What a wonderful surprise to receive my Aussie Hero Quilt and Laundry bag.  After what has been a long and hard deployment in the Middle East, it certainly lifted my spirits.   The quilt is so beautifully made and exceeds my expectations in every way.  I sent a picture of it to my wife and son back in Canberra and they were so impressed as I am with the love and care that in has shown in making this.   The colours remind me so much of the environment I am in.
Over here we are in the middle of the desert surrounded by sand.  It is starting to get very hot during the day.  Before long, it will be getting closer to 50c!  Our main planes we operate
are the C-130 Hercules, the E-7 Wedgetail, C-17 Globemaster and the KC-30 Air to Air Refueller/troop carrier.
I have a great appreciation of homemade craft and what you have given me will remain with me for the rest of my life as memory from back home but also my time serving for Australia in the Middle East.
I am a Air Force Musician by trade.  I play the organ, tuba, catafalque drums and bugle.  We have running a volunteer band which has helped to keep everyone happy and great for RnR.  My job over here is
 a job I really enjoy as I like talking and being with people and helping them.
Shortly I will be returning to my family in ACT. My mission has been cut short due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but I am relieved to be going back home. 
I really enjoyed reading your descriptions of life in the Southern Tablelands.  It reminded me of all the things I love about Australia, especially rural Australia.  It is a beautiful town and a lovely community.  I have had a few friends who have lived there in the past and enjoyed it much.  Although I was born in the city, my wife and I ultimately want to be part of a rural community.
We also were affected by drought, bushfires and hail whilst I was away.    My wife, 18-year-old son and I own and run a small 143-acre property just out of the ACT.  My wife had to evacuate our stock last year as the fire got very close.   It was very hard being so far away in the Middle East, not able to help in any way.  They also ran out water and were carting water in every week.  Then back home one our cars and the house we rent were very badly damaged in the hail.  My wife and son are still waiting for a new roof from the landlord’s insurance, but they are all safe and well.
I especially appreciate the camels on my quilt.  We have a large camel farm near the base, and some mornings you can smell the camels if the wind is right.  They are to related alpacas and remind me of our farm.  Thank you for the Tim Tams and sweets.  They went down a treat at work, especially the Tim Tams!

Dear Jean,
I am writing to thank you for the beautiful quilt that you spent your valuable time making for me. It perfectly represents the colour of my Regiment and the time I spent on OPERATION OKRA.
As date would have it, while your favourite place to travel is Africa, it is from there that I immigrated to Australia in 1999. My family and I are from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa and out favourite family past time was viewing nature in its natural habitat in Safari. Elephants are also my favourite animal.
Serving was an honour and a privilege and along with helping Kangaroo Island as part of OPERATION BUSHFIRE ASSIST 19/20, has been a highlight of my decade of service.  Thank you for the support that you have provided not just me, but no doubt, countless other serving members when they are far from home. You are the reason we serve.
Yours faithfully,
Hi there,
I’m so sorry it has taken me this long to reach out to you.
I am a sailor aboard HMAS Leeuwin, and I received a handmade dobi bag some time ago. It is so beautiful and I have loved it ever since it was gifted to me.
I wanted to say THANK YOU so much for this wonderful gift. It is very special to me and it really brightens up my cabin and is just so warming.
Thank you again and hope you are doing ok during this time xxxx

Thank you so much for the beautiful laundry bag. The red poppy material is exquisite. It definitely brightens my day.
I am in charge of the health team where I am deployed. It is an understandably busy time for all health personnel in the world at present. Just looking at my flowers makes me smile. To know that so many support us and our families while we are away is truly inspirational. Thank you for the extra gift. It will definitely come in handy as our tours have all been extended.
Please look after yourself and your family in these difficult times. As I know God is looking after my husband and kids. Thank you for the joy you bring to each and every one of us, it is truly amazing how everyone reacts when another on their team receive their quilt or laundry bag. The effect is tangible.
God Bless
Good Afternoon Bridget
Thank you very much for very impressive Quilt and Laundry bag, you have defiantly fulfilled my request and these will be put too good use. I am very happy and pleased with the end products.
I was given my nickname throughout high school and my 15 years of service in the RAN. As you may have guessed I am a mad AFL fan who supports the West Coast Eagles, I am missing the footy season as well as many other things which have been affected by this pandemic. This trip has been far tougher than any other I have been a part of due to being away from my family at this time, and living with many unforeseeable restrictions onboard including being unable to step off the ship and visit other countries during our time in port. Little things like receiving these quilts and care packages from home has an amazing effect on boosting the ships morale during these times.
I grew up in WA before joining the Navy as an Electronics Technician where I maintain the ships sensors, this includes RADARs and SONARs amongst other systems. Throughout my service I have been posted to ships out of Fleet Base West located on Garden Island just off the Rockingham coast WA. I am Married to my wife who is a chiropractor and fore see myself staying in the Navy for at least the next 5 years before possibly moving on with my life. I have enjoyed my years of service and in this time, I have been involved in the East Timor conflict in 2006, prior to 3 Middle East deployments as well as various other exercises around the south east Asia and the Pacific waters.
I thank you again for your generosity and hope you have not been severely affected by the recent events and uncertainty which has been occurring back home in Australia.
Best Regards
Good Afternoon Ruth,
Today I received my Freo Dockers Laundry Bag, and I must say that I was blown away by it. It was much more than I expected, thank you so very much. I also loved receiving the other gifts as well, what a surprise.
I am a Petty Officer on-board HMAS Toowoomba in a
rewarding role working with a great team.
I am not married but do have a long-time girlfriend, we have an eight-year-old daughter and two sons that are 21 and 19. They all live in WA, and I can’t wait to get home and see them all. We are just about half way through our deployment so not long really until we are home.
Once again thank you so much for brightening up my day, take care with all that is going on at home and hopefully if things start to get back to normal later on in the year, we will see Freo wipe the floor with the Power.
Many Thanks
Dear Shirley,
I am writing to you to let you know that I have received the Leeds United quilt you made and sent to me. I can’t tell you enough how much you absolutely nailed it! The 100-year centenary logo and the “marching on together” are something truly special and the blue bucket that Bielsa (our coach) sits on was also a great touch. Thank you so, so much! I have already sent photos to all the boys back home who support Leeds and everyone is admiring your work. Tell your son thank you from me for his input as well.
I truly appreciate the effort you have gone to in making this and sending it to me – the quilt will definitely not go to waste on this deployment or when I get home.
Thank you so much again – hope you are staying safe back home in these times of uncertainty.

Good Morning Sue,
First and foremost, thank you so much for my Barbie Girl laundry bag. It was exactly what I imagined and I love it so much! I work on Toowoomba. My favourite thing to see is how excited everyone on board get when they receive their Aussie Hero Packages. We all appreciate the time and effort everyone at Aussie Hero puts in for us 
I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy during this difficult time COVID is creating.  I hope you son is staying safe in New York and looking after his health, tell him the Combat Barbie from HMAS Toowoomba said to make sure he is keeping up his fitness and eating his Greens.
My family are trying their best to stay safe during this time. They said life is very boring at the moment just work and straight home.  I can say this Deployment hasn’t been the most exciting either, as we can’t step off the ship to visit these great countries. But luckily the crew is amazing and we are always managing to find our own way of fun such as card games, trivia nights and lots of exercise and sport.
Thank you so much again Sue and keep up the good work! 
Good evening Ruth,
I recently received my laundry bag that you made me. I’d just like to say thank you very much it is amazing and exactly what I wanted. It will come in great use, even though I’d rather not use it as its too good for dirty clothes ha-ha. When I received the parcel, I was coming off a long watch so quite tired and I was missing home. Your gifts brightened my mood and made my day, it was such a great surprise also seeing the towel and goodies in there too.
Little bit about me; I’m 29 years old, born and bred in WA. I’ve been in the NAVY for 6 years now. I was posted over in NSW for about 3 years but missed my family back home so we moved back a couple years ago now and love being close to all my nieces and nephew again. I have a son who is turning 4 in May and he is the cheekiest little monkey around. It will be his second birthday I miss too due to being away, and it doesn’t get any easier each time I leave him. Thankfully he is able to understand how Facetime works now so I get to see him every couple of days for a chat, which mainly consists of him asking what presents I’ve got him so far ha-ha. I’m very much looking forward to getting home and reuniting with all my family especially my cheeky little boy.
I hope you and your family are all ok and keeping safe during this crazy time and thank you very much again for your wonderful gifts.
Much appreciated and stay safe
Hi Clarissa,
First thing first, thank you so much for my beautiful laundry bag and delicious goodies. I received your package the other day, it was the greatest surprise and it truly brightened my day (I’ve attached a photo taken a few minutes after I opened the package – very happy indeed).
It was also really lovely to read about yourself, and your involvement with Aussie Hero Quilts! How long have you been working with Jan-Maree and the ladies?
By the sounds you have numerous hobbies to keep yourself, and the whole family busy! I’m not sure where you find free time! It’s also great to hear you’re a fellow Sydney resident. My partner and I also ‘live’ in Sydney, actually, and we love it immensely. I say ‘live’ because my partner and I are actually both in the Navy and while we share an apartment we actually live on separate sides of the country (for the time being). That being said, I was going home as often as I could before deploying, and was always so excited to see my partner and our beautiful little sausage dog, Kylo.
While my partner is originally from Sydney, I must confess that I’m originally from Adelaide and absolutely adore it there. My mother and father still live in our childhood home, and I have a brother who is in the RAAF posted to the NT. Other than my brother and I we don’t really have a military family so I’m not too sure where it came form but we both love it.
Speaking of home, I hope you and your family have remained safe and healthy through these tough times. It sounds like the home we left will be very different to the home we come back to. I hope in the coming months COVID dissipates and everything begins the transiting back to normal. Hopefully they also still televise dawn ceremonies for ANZAC Day and all the veterans, like you father-in-law, who aren’t’ able to commemorate the fallen as they usually would.
Again, thank you so much for you package and the amazing support you’ve sent all the way to the Middle East. It really means a lot and I will be forever thankful and grateful.
Yours aye,

Dear Irene,

I wish to thank you for the wonderful quilt, laundry bag and snacks you have sent me whilst I’m on operations.

I really couldn’t have received a more amazing quilt and laundry bag, the designs are beautiful and has brought me a tremendous amount of morale. I really appreciate all the food and snacks you have sent as well.

It’s great to hear that you’re also a dog lover. They’re the most beautiful, intelligent and loyal creatures God has ever graced us with. I’m a Military Working Dog Handler for RAAF, I’m also a husband and we have a new fur baby at home, a rescue pup my wife and I adopted named Luna that I’m yet to meet.

I grew up in, a town in the Hunter Valley with many cattle dogs as well. I Joined the RAAF straight out of school and was paired with a 16-month-old Dutch Shepard. We have been a formidable Military working dog team for over 3 years now and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner on the job.

I hope this message encourages you to continue your great charitable work with your quilts cause you have made my deployment so much more enjoyable.

Kind regards,

Hi Helen,
I am a recipient of one of your laundry bags and would like to thank you for the gift. I’d actually lost my old issued laundry bag a few years ago so it was nice to have this instead of using plastic bags for laundry.
I am normally a reservist but decided to take 6 months leave at the beginning of the year from my normal work as a public servant and put my hand up to assist with “ADF maritime operations”.
I normally live in Victoria with my girlfriend and 2 other housemates. My parents came to Australia as refugees and service is my way of giving back for the life I’ve had thus far. After this whole experience I think I’ll probably settle down and maybe try to start a family.
I hope that you and your family are safe and well in these interesting times.
Hi Sue,
Thank you very much for the laundry bag, it looks amazing!

A few of the guys have commented about how well made it is and how awesome it looks with the embroidery and Crows emblem on the front.
I, myself am only new to the whole AFL sport. My Nan and Pop are massive fans and used to have a Cockatoo that they taught to say “Go the Crows” and “When’s the footy?”

My partner is also a supporter and is the reason I started to follow the game. I’ve only been to a couple of games but the atmosphere is like none other. It’s exciting.
I was born and raised in SA. I went to school there, started and finished an apprenticeship there, met my partner there and have recently moved to WA for the Navy with my partner where I’m hoping to stay. It’s beautiful over here! The suns always out and it’s never too crowded. Which is great for driving old school cars and not having to worry about poor weather or the traffic. I drive a 1969 Valiant that my father and I rebuilt when I was 16.
I used to read books a lot as a kid, however as I’ve grown and started working, I’ve found it harder and harder to find the time. My favourite series from when I was in high school was the ‘Tomorrow when the War began’ series. Which to this date is still my favourite book series. I brought the 7-book series with me on this deployment and have set myself a goal of completing it by the time I get home in July. I’m up to book 3 currently so I’m making good progress.
I hope your Staffy is easier to train to like cats than it is to look after a vegie patch in the summer’s heat. My mum tried a few times to start up a vegie patch and succeeded for the most part, but the summer’s dry heat ravaged them every year.

Good luck with your Staffy and thank you again for the time and effort you took out of your day to create the masterpiece that is my laundry bag.

Kind regards,


Good Morning Pennie
I just want to start this email off by saying, thank you so much for my laundry bag it is awesome and has made my day. Sorry so the late reply the mail has been very slow at the moment as you could imagine with everything going on in the world at the moment. You are the real hero here with making this bag and for what you are doing back home making sure everyone is safe from the COVID-19 you still have to go to work and then back home to your family so thank you for everything you are doing.
A bit about myself I have been in the navy about 13 years and it is hard every time leaving the wharf leaving my wife and 3 kids (all under 10) but my son will love this bag as he is also a massive chase and paw patrol fan, so again thank you from my 6 year old son.
Again, words con not express how much I appreciate my laundry bag and everything the Aussie quilt hero’s do for us and what you are doing back home.
Hope you are keeping well.
Kind regards,
Hi Pennie!
I just wanted to say a massive thank you for the laundry bag you sent!! I just received it in the mail and it’s incredible! I was on another deployment when the design requests went out (they tend to move the docs around pretty frequently)  – I have two medics who work with me who submitted mine, but they wouldn’t tell me what it was so I haven’t been allowed to know what it would like until now ha-ha. It’s such great quality and you’ve done an amazing job, thank you so much. Especially now I know it was done at 3am in the morning!
It’s very good timing as well as my Navy-issue bag was on its last legs.
As an ED nurse though I feel I should instead be thanking you for the sacrifice and service you’re providing to the country right now. I worked in various EDs across Queensland but mostly in Cairns and Sunshine Coast before Navy, and certainly never during a pandemic! All I see of it is in the news and what friends and family tell me, but it definitely sounds like it’s had a huge impact on everyone’s lives. You’re right on the frontline, so thank you for all the hard work you’re doing.
Thanks again! Happy Easter!


Hi Toni
Many thanks for the splendid Laundry Bag you have made for me, it’s fantastic!!
With what you undertake looking after people with Advanced Dementia would say that you are a splendid person, such a cruel thing to suffer from,
and for families to deal with. It is lucky that there are wonderful people like you around.
I would also like to say thanks for all the goodies that you sent as well, much appreciated.
Take care and many thanks

Dear Toni
Firstly, I must apologize for the delay in writing to you. I got my amazing laundry bag only a few weeks before I got home and I lost your letter so I didn’t have your address to reply. Anyway, I found it last week so I am finally writing to you.
The bag is fantastic!!! I love it and been using it even now I am home. I hope you are well in this Covid time and making the most of your big yard. And that your clients are holding up as well.?
Thank you again. 2019 was a tough year and this was a highlight.
Best wishes

Hi Toni
You recently made a black laundry bag for me with a red Mortal
Kombat Dragon logo on the front of it.

 I just wanted to write to you to thank you for the bag and the hard work you put into making it. I think the work you do for our aged care is commendable and to think you then use your spare time to make these wonderful laundry bags for troops abroad further proves what a wonderful person you are.

I also appreciate the update on what the weather has been like for you there. We have been experiencing nice weather here with temperatures ranging from 20 – 30 deg Celsius during the day and dropping 5 to 10 deg at night. By comparison you have struggled thru a blistering hot summer that brought both bushfires and floods!!

Hopefully things have settled there now and you will be able to enjoy the green grass and the resurrection of your veggie patch, courtesy of the rainfall you received.
It also sounds that your Fathers property was a gold mine for valuable historic relics. Glad to hear the items went to the Museum where they will be viewed by many generations to come. My Mother has a keen interest in Historical items, thou she often sells them on E bay or Facebook Marketplace, she finds a lot of items at garage sales, second hand shops and auction sales the money she has made from it has funded her trips to Europe and America.

My task here is an interesting job that changes from day to day – you just never know what will happen there. We work 6 days a week and get Saturday off work, this is different now due to COVID-19

Back home I have a wife and 2 daughters. I am looking forward to completing my deployment so I can return home to them in QLD.

I also hope you have a wonderful 2020 and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for our Country – you are a true Patriot and it fills my heart with pride to know we have people like you in Australia.

Kind Regards
Just a short note in appreciation of my new laundry bag.
I received the bag with the pictures of the tractors and farm scenes.
This theme is especially dear to me as my family sold our family farm in North East Victoria last year.
On the farm we had John Deere brand tractors, the same as the ones on the laundry bag, so it very much reminds me of home.
I am currently Deployed as a Team leader on Operation Resolute which is the with the ADF’s Maritime Border enforcement operation protecting Australia’s interests and sovereignty.
Helen I hope that you are keeping safe and well in these uncertain and stressful times and would like to thank you and your friends at Aussie Hero Quilts for the work and thought you have put into the items you make for ADF personnel.
Dear Robyn,
First of all, I want to thank you so much for the beautiful quilt you made for me while I was deployed. It was such a wonderful gesture and I am so grateful of the time and effort you spent on making it for me. It was very comforting to receive something so beautiful whilst being a world away from my home and family back in Australia. Thank you.
I must apologise however, for getting in-touch with you so long after I received your beautiful gift. During my removal, some of my personal effects were misplaced in a warehouse during transit, and your letter to me was one of them. Recently though, the boxes that were misplaced were returned to me and I was so glad to see your letter wrapped up safely in the container it was originally packed in. I do apologise.

During my time in the Middle East, I was fortunate enough to fly many missions which contributed to the greater efforts of not only Australia, but the Coalition Task Force. During that time, I was also fortunate enough to take the quilt you made for me flying. I would make sure it was packed neatly in my flying bag and on the flight-deck whenever we would depart for a mission. In total, it flew with me well over 15 times, and it may well be the most well-travelled quilt in Australia! It was there with me and my crew in some very challenging situations, and it brings back many great memories of my time away.
I’m very glad that you managed to see the picture of my aircraft on Facebook, as you mentioned in your letter. The Squadron Leader you spoke of was in-charge of my unit while I was deployed, and the other 2 gentlemen present in the photo were my colleagues. I was flying that day so I didn’t make it into the photo unfortunately! I’m not sure if you follow them on Facebook, but the Royal Australian Air Force page posts quite a number of good photographs regularly. It’s fantastic if you enjoy aircraft like me!
At present, I’m currently on Course such that when I complete my training in a few months’ time, I will be teaching brand new members of the Army, Navy and Air Force how to fly, in the hope that they will earn their ‘Wings’ at the end of Pilot Training. I feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity as I remember the ‘guys and girls’ who instructed me on Pilot’s Course very fondly. Something I hope I can emulate that when I get the chance. It has been quite a big change for me though, as the KC-30A you saw in the photograph on Facebook has a maximum take-off weight of 233 Tonnes and can carry 285 people. This year however, I’m flying the Pilatus PC-21 which has only two seats and weighs just over 3 tonnes when it’s fully loaded. As you can imagine, it’s a very powerful and nimble aircraft, and is very enjoyable to fly. I’m having a great time buzzing around the skies!
I have never been to Western Sydney, but the majority of my mother’s family called it home once upon a time. That was long before I was born though. I’m told that it was mostly Dairy Farms and farmland when they lived there, and I’m also told that the contrary is very true these days. The way you describe your part of the world makes me think I’m missing out though! With beautiful rivers and the Blue Mountains so close, it sounds like a wonderful place to live. I hope both you and Michael are very happy there, and I hope that you are well, given the circumstances surrounding the global health crisis we’re facing at the moment. I hope you haven’t been affected.
Once again, Robyn, thank you for the wonderful quilt you made for me, and thank you for your thoughts and prayers toward my safe return home. I am so very grateful.
Kindest regards,
P.S. There is absolutely no need to apologise for the Roundel on the back of your letter. I actually thought you had gone to the trouble of making an artistically watermarked piece of paper until you told me otherwise. I thought it was a really nice touch!

Till next time, stay safe and keep spreading the word. 


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