Once every three months, a group of women from the Blue Mountains, Penrith and Hawkesbury regions is brought together by a very special bond that they share.
Each of the ladies is a widow of a NSW police officer.
Their most recent lunch was held at the Lapstone Hotel on June 7.
Gai Verhagen lost her husband, Inspector Cornelis Gerardus ‘Kees‘ Verhagen, 15 years ago, and although she is recovering from a major illness, attends the NSW Police Legatee Lunches as often as she can.
“Everyone who attends the functions all have something in common,” she said. “We have all had husbands who we have ironed uniforms for and watched go to a job that sometimes put them in harm’s way. We all understand intimately the unique nature of that job.
“These lunches and other opportunities to get together are a great way to share our stories and offer support to one another,” Mrs Verhagen said. “Everyone is welcome here and we also regularly meet up apart from the Police Legacy functions in our local areas for coffee and to discuss all the challenges that we face.”
NSW Police Legacy is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and hosts the lunches regularly throughout NSW as way to bring together a network of families and friends who have all faced difficult challenges in the past. After their husband’s death, many of the women have had to raise their families on their own and have faced the emotional struggle of dealing with loss and grief.
The charity also provides education grants for the Legatee and even pays for driving lessons when the children require them.
Donna Anderson, who has been attending Police Legacy functions for the past four-and-a-half years, finds the coming together of friends a special way of healing.
“We can talk about anything or we don’t have to share anything at all,” she said. “It’s a funny understanding of each other’s situations and it’s also a sense of having something in common. It’s a great way to network and find sources of support to help us through the hard times.”
Visit www.policelegacynsw.org.au for more information and to support their cause.