A wonderful memory: Medowie’s community spirit for Barry Hopkins

Barry Hopkins. (left) Barry and his daughter, Rebecca Garlick, who kicked off the outpouring of kindness.(right)
Barry Hopkins. (left) Barry and his daughter, Rebecca Garlick, who kicked off the outpouring of kindness.(right)

WHEN Rebecca Garlick realised she would not be able to travel down from Queensland to visit her father for his birthday three years ago, she unknowingly started a chain reaction of kindness from locals, and a wonderful memory for all involved.

Barry Hopkins was waiting for a hip operation, quite sick with heart complications, unable to take his best mate ‘Jack’ the Chihuahua for their walks and feeling a little down on his birthday.

Rebecca was upset that she couldn’t come and visit, and tried in vain to organise a business to drop both flowers and chocolates off to her Dad to surprise him.

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She took to facebook to see if anyone could help, and asked if anyone would be kind enough to take a moment of their day to drop a card or some chocolates to her Dad.

What happened was nothing short of wonderful, and the epitome of Medowie’s community spirit.

Visitors dropped in to visit Barry all day, bringing with them boxes of chocolates, bottles of wine, cards, flowers, pot plants and lots of warm wishes and birthday hugs for a man they didn’t even know.

Rebecca told News Of The Area, “We didn’t know how to tell Dad what was about to happen as my post took off, but then a local lady, Nic Kay, and her daughter turned up to have a glass of wine with him – that’s when he knew!”

“He was always a humble man, so he didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or be cranky with me – it didn’t stop that day, weeks later lovely cards were still arriving,” Rebecca said.

This wonderful outpouring of kindness made Rebecca realise that her parents had made the right decision when they moved here in 2000.

“I still cry when I think of the way Medowie showed their love for him – and his love for the community never dampened, even when his car was randomly hit by graffiti artists recently,” Rebecca told News Of The Area.

Rebecca again took to facebook this week to share news of a different nature, which prompted News Of The Area to share this special story.

After complications from recent heart surgery, Barry passed away last week – at home with his beloved wife of forty-seven years, Wendy.

Barry lived his life helping others.

He was a registered nurse, a second Dan Sensei for Budokan Karate, a NSW rural fire service volunteer and a member of the Ulysses Motorcycle Club.

Barry had four daughters and fifteen grandchildren, and Rebecca told News Of The Area, “He was such a loving, strong, supportive Father – always available to us, and such a good man.”

Barry Hopkins was a man Medowie can be proud to call their own, and Medowie residents can be proud that they took the opportunity to show him just that.

 

By Rachael VAUGHAN

Barry and his wife of 47 years, Wendy.
Barry and his wife of 47 years, Wendy.

 

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