The Grenfell Multipurpose Service (MPS) has received a generous bequest of around $3.3 million from the estate of the late Kathleen Helen Bandy.
The late Mrs Bandy was a former resident of the MPS and wanted to ensure the good work of the service continued in the local community.
The bequest has been paid to the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) with the directions of the late Mrs Bandy being that that it be used "for the general benefit of the Grenfell Multipurpose Health Service" and that the Local Health District "take guidance from the Weddin Health Council when distributing funds from the bequest".
Staff were shocked when the announcement of the bequest was made at the MPS on Monday.
Born Kathleen Reid in Barellan, New South Wales, on July 16, 1932, Kath's life was one of resilience, compassion, and profound dedication to others.
Settling into a farming life with her husband Morris Bandy in Binya, Kathleen embraced the joys and challenges of rural life.
Together, they raised three sons, Steven, George, and John, nurturing a loving family amidst the farmland they cherished.
Tragedy struck when their youngest son succumbed to a terminal heart condition at the tender age of 13, casting a shadow of grief over the family.
"Once the two older boys were self sufficient, Kath went into devoting her time, care, kindness and much love to many children that she and Morris fostered from three months to the age of early teens," Virginia Drogemuller, Kathleen's niece, said.
"The children that entered her life always held special places in her heart."
The Bandys faced further heartache when George, diagnosed with melanoma, passed away at thirty-two in 2004.
Subsequently, the family decided to transition away from farm life, selling their property and relocating to Grenfell in consideration of their surviving son Steven's health.
"Grenfell was chosen for their home as Kath and Morris wanted to be near myself, my aunt wished to be closer to me and my family, whom she loved," Virginia said.
"Kathleen and I had a special relationship that I will forever treasure."
Adjusting to life in Grenfell, Kath and Morris found comfort in the community.
However, Morris's passing in 2010 left Kathleen and their son devastated.
Despite the loss, Kath found solace during her respite care in 2019 in the companionship and care provided by Grenfell MPS.
"Kath enjoyed her time here, spending time in the company of others, visited from her son, as well as myself and my family," she said.
"Kathleen felt safe, cared for and supported by the Grenfell MPS."
Her final wish, to support the Grenfell MPS, resulted in the remarkable $3.3 million donation, underscoring her commitment to enhancing care for the elderly in the community.
"Kath was a thoughtful, caring, and generous woman, her dying wish to support the Grenfell MPS and its essential care for the aging population in Grenfell is her lasting legacy.
Chair of the Weddin Health Council, Peter Moffitt, and WNSWLHD Chief Executive Mark Spittal met in Grenfell to acknowledge the bequest and express their gratitude.
Mr Spittal said that early discussions indicated that some of the bequest will be used to create accommodation for healthcare workers in their initial stages of moving to Grenfell, or who were providing services temporarily.
"Key healthcare worker accommodation has been a very influential strategy in encouraging and supporting people working in rural locations. This bequest will help us apply that strategy here in Grenfell. That can have a very important and positive impact into the long-term," Mr Spittal said.
"While the redevelopment of the Grenfell MPS is not currently identified for funding, when that opportunity becomes available, this bequest will also be able to be incorporated into that project.
"We're extremely grateful and want to acknowledge Mrs Bandy's generosity and kindness. All our communities provide support for their local services and to have something this substantial is a great benefit for Grenfell."
Mr Moffitt also acknowledged the advantage for the MPS in receiving the bequest.
"Grenfell MPS has a Clinical Services Plan which identified the need for more aged care beds, and the Health Council has advocated on behalf of the community to see a full redevelopment," Mr Moffitt said.
In a heart warming gesture of generosity, Kathleen Bandy, fondly known as Kath, bequeathed a remarkable $3.3 million to the Grenfell MPS (Multi-Purpose Service) before her passing in November 2021.
This significant contribution is poised to have a lasting impact on the essential care provided to the aging population of Grenfell.