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Well done, good and faithful servant: Tribute to Alf Bourne

Dorothy Henderson Lodge resident, local legend and centenarian Alf Bourne has been part of the BaptistCare family since 2002, first living at Willandra Village and then at Dorothy Henderson Lodge. Sadly, on Friday 19 November, Alf passed away in his sleep at the age of 106.

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Monday 22 November, 2021

Dorothy Henderson Lodge resident, local legend and centenarian Alf Bourne has been part of the BaptistCare family since 2002, first living at Willandra Village and then at Dorothy Henderson Lodge.

Sadly, on Friday 19 November, Alf passed away in his sleep at the age of 106. Alf will be missed by all who knew him, his family and friends, as well as his BaptistCare family.

Just a few short weeks before this, in late October, Alf celebrated his birthday with a morning tea surrounded by staff and residents with a special visit from his family.

Born in Petersham in 1915, Alf was the eldest of five children and grew up in Sydney’s inner west with his brothers Frederick and Edward and sisters Marj and Irene. In 1933 he married his wife, Grace, in Tempe when Alf was 18 years old and together they had one daughter, Lynette. Alf and Grace were married for 58 years before Grace sadly passed away in 2001. Alf was a very proud father to Lynette, grandfather to Juliet and Stuart and great-grandfather to his two great-grandsons, Logan and Edward.

Alf lived through some of history’s most significant moments. These include World War II, the building of the Harbour Bridge, the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, the current health pandemic and Australia’s first COVID-19 outbreak in March last year at BaptistCare Dorothy Henderson Lodge.

A life devoted to the service of others, Alf was BaptistCare’s oldest volunteer, having been a dedicated volunteer and Chaplain through BaptistCare and the churches he attended. His chaplaincy work continued right up until he passed away, as he loved to spend time with his fellow aged care residents at Dorothy Henderson Lodge. Alf loved dressing up as Santa every year at the home, to the delight of residents and staff.

Despite leaving school at 14 years old, Alf qualified to join the Public Service, and at one point was a volunteer ambulance driver.

“I left school at 14 years of age. I managed to qualify to join the Public Service, which was a miracle. I worked as a Court Sheriff for most of my working life then as an Auditor in the same department.

“I remember when I was in Hay, I was vice-chairman of the Hay Hospital Board. I also was a volunteer ambulance driver. One of my most memorable emergency drives was going all the way to Sydney which was 500 miles, dodging kangaroos and driving down the wrong side of the road in the inner area of Sydney, with my hand on the horn.

“Another wonderful memory was when I moved to Armidale, I was asked if I could help to nurture and mentor 11 child delinquents who were school truants. By God’s grace, I steered them in the right direction and they attended the Sunday school I taught at. They were shown a lot of love and good discipline which enabled them to mature and change for the better", he said.

Always looking on the bright side, last year, having reached 105, Alf shared he was most grateful for being mobile, saying, “I am still able to propel my own wheelchair.”

And of his life at Dorothy Henderson Lodge, he was always full of praise for the staff, saying recently: “The treatment I get here is outstanding. The staff are 100 per cent. They’ve been marvellous to me. I can’t praise them enough.”

Last year, we asked Alf a few questions on the occasion of his 105th birthday, and his answers speak volumes about the man he was.

What memory is a highlight for you?
The highlight of the year is when I play Santa at Dorothy Henderson Lodge. I was also Santa for four years at Eastwood Shopping Centre and five years at Carlingford Court Shopping Centre. Often, I would love to share the real meaning of Christmas.

What advice can you give us about living a long life?
Talk to God a lot about making the right decisions. Having a personal relationship is vital. Prayer is so important.
Dignity is very important. I always like to be well dressed mostly wearing a white shirt with a tie.
I still get up at 5 am each morning.
I still love taking responsibility and leadership. I say grace for the midday meal each day.

What would you like for your 106th birthday?
I would like to be in heaven – but that depends on God.

Alf was a remarkable and generous man who spent his life in the service of others. For over 40 years he was a dedicated volunteer and chaplain through his church and with BaptistCare. So many lives, friends, family, residents and staff have been touched by Alf.

Thank you, God for the life and legacy of Alf. While we mourn him, we are grateful for his long life and his love for others, and that he is now in heaven with you.