Tragedy sparks act of kindness

TUCKED IN: Pathfinders chief executive Alan Brennan and Armidale Youth Refuge resident Claire Sommerlad makes a bed with some of the manchester bought with the donation. Photo MATT BEDFORD

TUCKED IN: Pathfinders chief executive Alan Brennan and Armidale Youth Refuge resident Claire Sommerlad makes a bed with some of the manchester bought with the donation. Photo MATT BEDFORD

TONIGHT a troubled youth will sleep more comfortably at the Armidale Youth Refuge, thanks to an anonymous benefactor who turned personal tragedy into public good.

It all started nine years ago when a city businessman received a $2860 cheque from a mother and one-time student at the University of New England.

In an accompanying handwritten letter, the mother told how she had stolen from the businessman’s shop while a student at UNE in the 1970s.

“Years later the lady lost a child,” the Armidale businessman said. “She then considered her acts of theft and wanted to make amends.” 

The mother calculated the amount of what she believed she had stolen, factored in inflation, double the amount, then sent the cheque to the businessman.

I’ve now made the decision to call-in the core investment and pay it out to the nominated charities - An Armidale businessman

The business had long been closed, however, the letter with the cheque made its way to the former shop’s owner and he invested the money, paying the annual interest on the investment to five nominated charities. 

“I’ve now made the decision to call-in the core investment and pay it out to the nominated charities,” the businessman said yesterday.

Each of the charities, including Pathfinders, which runs Armidale Youth Refuge, will receive up to $600.

Pathfinders chief executive Alan Brennan, pictured here with resident Claire Sommerlad, thanked the anonymous benefactor and said the money would go towards buying much-needed manchester for the refgue.

“Winter is upon us and this generous donation is greatly appreciated by Pathfinders and the young, homeless people cared for round-the-clock by Pathfinders at the Armidale Youth Refuge,” Mr Brennan said.

The businessman did not want to be named to protect the identity of the mother, who has long since left Armidale.

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