Monday Memories – Caravan Part 10

There were also loving arms reaching out to the caravan from overseas. Apart from the tremendous support given by GFS in England in raising the money to provide the van and helping it financially for the first year, Miss Edith Yaizey-Hope, Leader of the Swanage, Dorset branch and Perth’s English representative on the Overseas Committee, had a very special request to make. She asked if her branch could become the van’s ‘Godmother’ and send it little gifts from time to time. This was continued during the Depression years and through part of World War II. Some were sold to help the caravan funds and others were suitable for small gifts to those who provided hospitality to the van workers. The link with Swanage branch was very strong and Miss Yaizey-Hope came out to Western Australia as a voluntary worker for several years.
 
The GFS van and the dedication of its workers became well known and often a garage would do repairs at a special price or put extra petrol in the tank without charge. The country people themselves were very grateful for the visits that cheered them in their loneliness and would give the van workers milk, cream, eggs or freshly baked cakes and many times asked them to stay for a meal.
 
Through the years that followed many valued helpers continued to help with the work of the caravan in the outback for varying periods – all in a voluntary capacity. They helped the clergy in whatever way there was a need – visiting the lonely, teaching Religious Instruction in the little schools all over the State, starting Sunday Schools and also linking many hundreds of children with the Sunday School by post. They helped with services (often playing the little portable organ), started GFS branches and linked each one with a city branch where possible, gathered the names of women for Mothers’ Union and men for the Church of England Men’s Society. During the time they were working in these huge parishes, under the direction always of the Rector, they acted as an ‘extra pair of hands’.
 
They were able to pass on information to him about babies to be baptised and young people to be confirmed, as well as families where his help was needed.
 

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