Monday, 4 April 2016

Glenbrook Visit

On Friday the first of April around 30 Aussie Hero Friends were invited to visit RAAF Base Glenbrook.  The Air Commander Australia, Air Vice Marshall Gavin Turnbull and his wife Jackie were kind enough to open their private home, Briafcliff, to us all for a light lunch.  From all the feedback I have had our visit was a great success and much enjoyed by all who attended.  

A short walk from the gates and in through the conservatory...

Everyone was welcomed at the gate and guided to the house by the Air Command Warrant Officer Michelle Foley who was responsible for arranging the lunch.

It did not take too long for the conservatory to fill ... and check out the spread that was laid on... yummy.  Big thanks to the chef who did a fabulous job with his staff.   The food was wonderful and ABUNDANT.

It is great to have this photo to show you. With the exception of Gail, these ladies are all new to Aussie Heroes and make up a great group that now meets regularly at my home to sew and work!    Great to have you join in with us ladies.

Left to Right we have, Jenny P, June, Kate, Bridget, Bev U, Bev F, Gail and Clarissa.

Aussie Hero stalwart Joan and her husband, Robin, flanking Blake and mum, Donna.

Caroline, her mum, Sue and Carolyn.

Our Warrant Officer Michelle with Caroline, Sue G, Kate and a recipient of one of our laundry bags made especially for the day..... apart from Michelle and the Air Vice Marshall, I will stick to my policy of not naming the serving members.

Wendy, with my one my recipients, Cheryl R and Robin.  Now whilst I am not naming names, for those of you who sent laundry bags with poppy fabric on them in 2014, this recipient was the young lady you sent them to for distribution.  :-)

The lovely redhead on the right also happens to be one of my recipients (it wasn't planned honestly) and she is also the daughter of one of our quilters, Su J.   Additionally she served as one of my points of contact in Kabul when she was deployed in 2013.

Allow me to introduce the lovely Jackie, our wonderfully warm and friendly hostess with the mostess. Of course Jackie happens to be a quilter, so it goes without saying that she is a special person.

She was kind enough to show us some of her quilts and yes, before you ask, Jackie has every intention of getting involved and sewing with us.  :-)

On display on the day were two of our much loved Aussie Hero Quilts.   The churn dash quilt on the right belongs to Michelle's husband who is currently deployed.... without his quilt I might add. I am checking to see that he has his laundry bag with him....

The second quilt, made by the Dolphin Quilters,  was accompanied by a very special story ...... the arrival of this quilt could not have come at a better time for this serving mum

seen here at the time it arrived with her quilt and the photo of her son who turned 9 the day the quilt arrived.  "Mum" has since sewn her deployment patches on the quilt and presented it to her son as a memento of her deployment.   Special dispensation was given for this quilt to be removed from her son's bed for the day and displayed for us to see it. 

Myself, with AVM Turnbull and Arthur, Lynn's lucky husband (I was going to say "long-suffering" but he is cheeky enough!)   

Athur and Lynn

Margaret (a local) and Leanne who flew down from Ballina for the weekend to be at the lunch and then stayed for our sewing day on Saturday.

AVM Turnbull with the laundry bag that Keryn made for him...

He was just a bit chuffed with this....

One of the highlights of the day was meeting up with one of my favourites.  
OK so anyone who knows me knows that I have LOTS of favourites, but what can I say, we sew for lots of terrific people. 

I thought this fellow looked familiar when he walked in but it took me a bit to realise who he was. Allow me to introduce you to Batman!!  

At least that was his nickname when he was deployed and that is what he asked us to put on his quilt (which we did) 

and his laundry bag....

But it wasn't just the quilt, the laundry bag and his nickname that made Batman memorable. It was the fact that he made sure one of his staff members was looked after, even though her request was submitted too late for her to receive her quilt whilst she was deployed. It was also the fact that occasionally people would make comments about what a good bloke Batman was, how good he was for morale and then it was also the fun little bits that make what I do more interesting and more fun, like being sent pictures like this.....

Some people you just don't forget..., well I don't anyway.

One of our fabulous PHOTs (service speak for Photographers) and Stephanie T

On the left we have Blake, Donna P's young son who is applying to the RAAF to be an officer.  He had been desperate to come but his mother had not liked to ask... so I asked and of course it was no problem.  One of the first serving members he met was this pilot, another of our recipients.    The very first time I mentioned on the Facebook page that we would be visiting Glenbrook, this fellow commented that he would see us there, and true to his word, he did...

Of course Blake was thrilled to meet a pilot.  Would love to know what they were discussing here....

This is the quilt our recipient brought along to show... 

Check out that smile on Blake's face... it was pretty much a permanent fixture... all day ... the way home and apparently all that night....

We were sent these photos back when the quilt was received 12 months ago but we had to wait til our recipient was home... fair call these days...   Great quilt made by Amrit.

Another recipient was kind enough to come along, this one having only recently returned from deployment.   This quilt was made by Tracie S 

The great story on the day was the laundry bag though. Our friendly Sergeant, Allen (well it IS written on his laundry bag), was showing the bag to some of the ladies when Jenny W saw it and said... "I made that!". What a happy coincidence!

Everyone who was present on the day was presented with one of ACAUST's personal coins.  This is quite a privilege as many service members will go their entire careers and not be presented a coin from a two star rank.  (Air Vice Marshall, Major General or Rear Admiral).   

Yes, Blake received one and his smile grew even wider....

Additionally Air Vice Marshall Turnbull presented Aussie Heroes with a plaque ....

Next it was Jackie's turn to receive a small token as a thank you for her hospitality on the day.   I could have ar, so I chose to make her a smaller version of the laundry bag that she can use as she wishes.... 

I chose a house design as my inspiration seeing as we were meeting in Briarcliff...
Note the ribbon, given to me last Christmas by Michele S  :-)

When Jackie noted that she had something inside her bag..... 

 and pulled out a box of chocolates, she immediately declared she was not going to share.... (and looked directly at her husband).  That prompted him to glance inside his bag and that is when this hornet pilot noticed that..... YAY.... he had aircraft inside his and the chocolates were forgotten.... 

We aim to please... great job Keryn!

Next it was time to show our appreciation to Michelle for all her efforts.  She was presented with a laundry bag made by Wendy F....

Complete with her name on it.... 

and much admired by her boss..

I also gave Michelle a set of potholders and some chocolate as I figured she deserved a little extra for all her hard work.

Time for a group shot

and time for a few happy snaps 

June, Air Vice Marshall Turnbull and Jenny P

Hmmm more of June and Jenny P, this time with our handsome pilot....

and this time with our lovely young PHOT.....

They must have run out of good looking blokes to take pics with so finished up with 
Jackie and I. 

And what photo story would be compete without a selfie, complete with photo-bombing recipient! 

 We had a ball. Thanks so much to Air Vice Marshall Turnbull and Jackie for inviting us into their home, to the staff who prepared and served the fabulous spread, to Fleur, Batman and others who kept the food and drink coming and generally made the day run smoothly, to the PHOTs (including our own Kate) for recording the day for us, to the serving members who took time out of their day to come down and say hello and especially to Michelle for all her efforts coordinating the whole event. 

Much, much appreciated.

Till next time.................keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree xx


  1. Oh how wonderful, what a perfect day eh? Thankyou for the photo's and write up JM....fantastic!!

  2. Fantastic day...thanks for sharing.