Our People

Committee of Management

  • Maryjane Crabtree (President)
  • Diane Wright OAM (President Emeritus)
  • Marion Nott (Vice President)
  • Helen Gibson (Secretary)
  • Wayne O’Brien (Treasurer)
  • Andrea Langdon
  • Lyn Harris OAM
  • Gavin Spokes

(Currently there is one vacancy on the Committee of Management)

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    Diane Wright

    - Founder

    Through many years of unwavering effort, Diane’s vision of creating a respite and palliative care facility in a homelike environment has been realised. Her commitment to seeing the community hospice project culminate in a functioning facility has seen her meet with hundreds of community leaders, politicians, service groups and people across South West Victoria to advocate on behalf of Anam Cara House.

    Through her efforts, and those of a dedicated team of volunteers and supporters, the community rallied and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the initial purchase and fit-out of Anam Cara House Colac.

    Without Diane’s vision and dedication, Anam Cara House would not exist.

    “It’s come together as a result of ordinary people doing extraordinary things”.

    – Diane Wright, Founder, Anam Cara House Colac

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    George ‘Neil’ Stewart

    - Founding Patron

    Neil Stewart and his wife Yvonne made the decision to attend the initial public information meeting about Anam Cara House in March 2005 because they saw the need for a place for people with a long term or life limiting illness to have respite or end of life care in surroundings that offered care and restfulness in peaceful and beautiful surroundings. After that public meeting a working party was formed to pursue the possibility of establishing such a place as a community hospice for the Western District. A Capital Fund Raising Committee was formed and Neil agreed to be Chairman of this Committee.

    At a professional level Neil is Chairman of Directors, and the third generation of Stewarts to head up Charles Stewart & Company, a well respected and most successful livestock and real estate agency that has served Western Victoria since 1917.

    Neil has been involved over many years in professional associations:

    • Victorian Stock and Station Agents Association
    • Colac Water Works Trust and Sewerage Authority (Chairman 1979 -1982
    • Executive Committee of the Sewerage Authority Association of Victoria
    • Victorian Water and Sewerage Authorities Association
    • Victorian Government Commissioner – Colac Otway Shire
    • Barwon Regional Water Authority
    • Patron of “Do Care”

    Neil has systematically put into place a fundraising campaign that has involved writing to and then following up by  phone call and then personal visits to members of  the local business community and beyond.  Neil & Michael Stewart and our Committee have set a goal of establishing a financial foundation as a reserve and surety for Anam Cara House’s operations and viability.

    In short, Neil Stewart is a man who is committed to both his family and his community and is a stalwart champion and advocate for others. Neil, and his wife Yvonne, are  particularly mindful and caring for the human dignity of others, including the  value of quality “end of life care” and are staunch advocates for Anam Cara House.

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    Karen Eccles

    - Hospice Manager

    It is a great honour for me to be appointed Hospice Manager of Anam Cara House. I began working here as a Registered Nurse in October 2012. I wanted to be able to contribute to the wonderful loving environment that offered a type of care to the community that was so different and flexible. The great support my family received from the nurses involved with my dad, during his illness and death in 1981 from cancer, was my inspiration to become a nurse.

    Since completing my training as a Division 1 Registered Nurse at Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg in 1984, I have had experience in acute medical and surgical nursing, aged care, home nursing and mental illness. I have gained qualifications in Palliative Care and all aspects of my work have included caring for people who were palliative. It has been important to me to ensure that the experience of the patients and families involved was that they felt valued and cared for and that their wishes were respected.

    My family and I have been happy to call Birregurra home for 29 years. I look forward to being able to contribute in a new way to the people of our district, and build on the great vision of Anam Cara House. I also look forward to working with the wonderful people involved, the committee, volunteers and nurses.