Monday marked the 20th anniversary celebrations of The Compassionate Friends (TCF) Mandurah.
The self-help group offers friendship, understanding, education and hope for bereaved parents and families dealing with the loss of a child.
As a non-profit, the organisation has survived for 20 years from community support and grants for specific purposes.
With more than 40 members in attendance at the celebrations at the Meadow Springs Golf and Country Club on Monday, it was clear how much support and friendship this group has provided those dealing with loss over the last 20 years.
The celebrations began with President Gary Withers acknowledging the volunteers and special guests, including group State Patron Graham Mabury, MP David Templeman and Mp Robyn Clarke.
Public relations manager Margot McAllister then introduced State Patron Graham Mabury, host of Nightline for 33 years and pioneer of many humanitarian projects in Perth. Mr Mabury launched TCF in Mandurah in February 2002, and has been involved with the organisation ever since. Addressing the crowd, he first spoke about Ms McAllister's contributions to the organisation.
"I knew many years ago that Margo was a force of nature, a force of very compassionate nature.
"If you added together all the names, how many lives have been touched because of what's occurred here in the last 20 years?" Mr Mabury asked.
He went on to offer remarks on what being part of the TCF group truly meant.
"I often describe you [TCF] as the self-help group nobody wants to join. Because the price, the price is way too high," Mr Mabury said. Of course, that price is to lose a loved one.
"You've taught me that it can be really important just to be there. And to let the person know, you're sorry. And you've taught me that it's really important to listen, and if that person needs to speak, to let them speak," Mr Mabury said.
Not only were today's celebrations about 20 years in operation, but also to launch the book, 'The Next 10 Years', a recount of the last decade of TCF by Fiona Rafferty.
"I first came into contact with you or the Perth branch in mid-2000, through a personal loss of my partner at the time. So we were helped through a very difficult journey 21 years ago, and it was wonderful for me to be able to give something back to an organisation that gives to so many and helped so many people," Ms Rafferty said.
A catered lunch for the members followed, as well as a cake to celebrate 20 years in operation. The atmosphere at the luncheon was friendly and reflective, as old friends reconnected and shared stories, and new friends were made with other members of TCF.
As a non-profit, TCF constantly relies on community support and donations to continue offering their services to bereaved family members. To donate, head to: tcfmandurah.com.au
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