Tea Gardens retiree makes hobby out of giving back to community

One of the fiddle boards that Gordon Rowe and some crafters created


87-YEAR-OLD Gordon Rowe made the big move from Cowra to Palm Lake Resort in Tea Gardens in November 2016.

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“I used to come fishing with our boating club to Port Stephens for a number of years, and thought it would be a nice place to retire,” he said.

Since making the move, Mr Rowe has made it a priority to give back to his new community.

“I saw a documentary about a young man who returned from Afghanistan who had severe head injuries, and how through rehabilitation he was able to regain some motor skills again,” said Mr Rowe.

“They had him open little doors with latches and put nuts on bolts and things like that.”

“Then I spoke to someone else and they said it was a thing called ‘fiddle boards’ which have activities for fine motor skills.”

Mr Rowe and other members of the village’s workshop group started making fiddle boards and has since donated some to Estia Health Tea Gardens, Peter Sinclair Gardens and Life Without Barriers.

“Jacinta Verde, another resident here at Palms Lake, works at Estia and it was through her that it all started,” Mr Rowe said.

“Some of the people there with dementia really benefit from it – it gives them something to do but also stimulates their mind and challenges them to do things that people would normally take for granted.”

Since 2017, the workshop group has been able to donate eight giant boxes of dominoes, fiddle boards, large noughts and crosses game boards and bird houses, to name a few.

Mr Rowe has also made a hobby out of building model ships, of which he has donated several to organisations such as the RFS and Lions Club to raffle or auction for fundraising.

It takes the group nearly two months to make most of the items, but Mr Rowe said it’s all worth it being able to contribute to the local area.




Gordon Rowe and his fellow workshop group members with some of the goods they made

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