Living Streets Association | 2014

There is a beautiful but infamous cliff at Watsons Bay in eastern Sydney called The Gap. The spectacular views attracts many tourists each year, but locals know of this place for a different reason; many people have committed suicide here by jumping into the crashing sea and rocks 100 metres below. When Don Ritchie, who lived across the road, noticed a distressed person standing at the cliffs, he would set off immediately to offer his humanity. A few compassionate words, “Is there something I could do to help you?”, with the promise of a hot cup of tea in his home would bring would-be jumpers down from the cliff. 

He has been credited to save around 500 people, and was later awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2006, and national “Local Hero” in the 2011 Australian of the Year Awards.

Don’s story touched the hearts of all Australians and challenged each of us to rethink what it means to be a good neighbour

National Australia Day Council, Sydney Morning Herald

Inspired by this story, we decided that no matter how busy and tired we are, and how cold some people can sometimes be, we should continue the music education for the neighbourhood children on weekends. Sunday Piano Lessons provided children with an opportunity to learn music for free, as well as a space for some psychological counselling. We hoped to give some warmth to children and parents in need of some compassion.

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