On the 24th of July we posted off the last of the quilts and laundry bags to HMAS Newcastle who still has a little bit of operational time left in the Middle East and now it is time to start to think about our next shipload of customers, HMAS Melbourne.
|Vires Acquirit Eundo means “she gathers strength as she goes.”
Like HMAS Newcastle and also HMAS Toowoomba, this is the second time that we will be looking after HMAS Melbourne. They have a new captain and chaplain this time. Some of the old crew remain, lots of new ones have joined.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be on the wharf to farewell them on their way. The sun was in the worst possible position for those on the wharf to take pics so I hope the HMAS Melbourne III page does not mind but I have borrowed some of their photos.
Just prior to the gangway being opened, and the crew being allowed to leave the ship and spend that last little while with their families, I was invited on board. I had one special quilt to present to one of the crew. I will come back to that in a minute. We had to wait a bit to be able to present the quilt so I spent some time mingling with some of the crew. Whenever I introduced myself and asked if they had requested quilts those that had immediately spoke up with enthusiasm about their request. They are all really looking forward to seeing what we come up with for them.
I even came across a few who received quilts last time Melbourne deployed, or on a previous ship, and they assured me that their quilts and laundry bags had been brought along on this deployment. There is still a lot of gratitude for them. It was lovely.
At last it was time for me to deliver this special quilt. Lynn and Carol who made it were able to get it completed in time for me to hand it to its new owner. it was made in loving memory of Tegan’s mother and was just way to special to needlessly risk in the post.
Once the gangway was opened the crew filed down to find their families and friends for those last goodbyes and farewells.
There were speeches from Defence Minister Kevin Andrews and Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, as well as the Captain of HMAS Melbourne, CMDR William Waters.
CMDR Waters is extremely appreciative of what we are about to do for his crew (and himself).
Many of the crew and family members that I spoke to asked me to pass on their thanks. Some are even planning to sew for us. 🙂
Even I had someone to farewell this time and at the risk of embarrassing him ……he sailed with Melbourne last time and has stayed in touch with me ever since. I am so glad I was able to be there along with his family, to wave him off today!
I know the first parcels for HMAS Melbourne went in the mail today with lots more to be sent in the coming months. If you are sewing for Melbourne and have not seen the address yet, I published it last night on the blog and sent it out today with the request list. You should be able to find it in one of those places.
You might like to know that one of our previous ship’s captains was there today and took the time to introduce me to the Minister for Defence. It was lovely to hear him explain to the minister what Aussie Heroes does, and then to explain that, not only did he receive a quilt himself, but also just how much of a morale boost Aussie Heroes gave to his crew.
I can’t stress enough, people really appreciate what we are doing. We may not hear back from many of the quilts and laundry bags that we send off, but I am always left in no doubt, every time I get out among the crews and troops, that what we do is making a difference
IT IS APPRECIATED.
I just so wish you could all have the same experience.
I thought before I finish we would take a look back at some of the goodies we sent to HMAS Melbourne last time……
Wishing you fair winds and following seas HMAS Melbourne. Come home safe and sound.
You will be missed but we know you will make us proud.
Till next time………………..keep spreading the word and happy stitching!