We recently lost a longstanding volunteer, Harriet, whose legacy as a community volunteer stretched from responding to the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic to the challenges faced by our LGBTI communities today - both at Thorne Harbour and other LGBTI organisations.
23 Jul 2020
Harriet stood up to be counted at the height of the AIDS epidemic when people were shunning those living with HIV or dying from AIDS, as was often the case in those early days. She was a committed massage therapist volunteer - working tirelessly at the Positive Living Centre for many years before retiring in 2011.
Harriet stood out in a crowd. She was a colourful character with a big personality who possessed her own unique style of dress. Yet, for all of her flamboyance, she was a gentle and softly spoken person who brought a sense of calm, if not a degree of natural spirituality, to her work.
She listened, she soothed and her healing touch was so important - especially in those early days of the AIDS epidemic when so many people were simply not touched. Her massages could bring that therapeutic and accepting quality to a marginalised, anxious and often traumatised community.
These was a certain grace about Harriet’s presence, which was embraced by many clients at the Positive Living Centre.
Amongst the variety of areas Harriet worked in at Thorne Harbour, she was very involved with fundraising events. Harriet was happy to be involved behind the scenes - helping out backstage or in an office. She was happy to be in the front line – selling raffle tickets and theatre programs, being an usher, or making sure everyone was wearing a Red Ribbon at whatever event she happened to be involved with. Harriet was always happy to encourage and enthuse fellow volunteers along the way.
She may have retired from her work with Thorne Harbour many years ago but she didn’t retire from active connection to our community. She remained forever linked to many Thorne Harbour clients and was often a dinner guest at the Positive Living Centre until COVID-19 hit. Many people associated with Thorne Harbour will mourn her passing, recognising that she really did care about others and tried to make a difference to their lives.