Hawks Nest seniors advocate Dorothy Thompson achieves footpath after fifteen years

Peter Sinclair Gardens residents with Dorothy on a beautiful day for celebrating real victories.

PERSISTENCE and strong purpose have finally paid, as Hawks Nest’s Dorothy Thompson celebrated the opening of the Mirreen Street footpath outside Peter Sinclair Gardens (PSG) on Thursday, 8 June.

A tenacious Kiwi by birth, Dorothy (94) has volunteered at PSG for many years, beginning her battle for a safe footpath fifteen years ago.

Pedestrians and elderly PSG residents alike have been forced to walk directly upon the road, with cars and trucks bearing down from both directions.

“No-one seemed to care whether the residents walked or not, some actually won’t go out during the holidays,” Dorothy explained, alluding to the busy holiday traffic that inevitably discovers Mirreen Street as a bypass of the congested Tuloa Avenue roundabout.

Her unrelenting campaign of letters and meetings met astounding Council indifference over the years.

In the wake of forced Council amalgamations in 2016, Dorothy was told, in typically heart-breaking bureaucratic manner, that the whole process would start from scratch.

When she turned 90, Dorothy nearly gave up.

“I went to Taree to ask for help from the Council, saw the new MidCoast Council building and just broke down in tears… they could afford that, but not a simple footpath.”

Eventually, Dorothy’s plight was backed by the Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association, and Dorothy received the help that she desperately needed.

During Council’s ‘Community Conversations’ at Hawks Nest on 6 June, Dorothy interrupted the presentation to proudly announce, “The footpath has been opened!”, met with huge applause from the room.

Those not clapping, up the front, attempted to silence Dorothy in her moment of triumph, but she proved unsilenceable, proudly declaring, “After fifteen years, I am entitled to make this announcement.”

On 8 June, Dorothy and her PSG friends triumphantly marched up and down the new path, marvelling at its unprecedented breadth and safety.

As she walked without her trusty ‘Horse’, Dorothy declared, “Everyone who started this with me is gone now, but I can tell them that I kept my promise after all.”

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Leave a Reply