50 years of love and nurturing

Staff and residents celebrating the milestone.

The Douglas Murray Home for the aged, in 12th Avenue, Retreat, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

The home’s history dates back to the efforts of a group of women who were part of the Wynberg Society who did what they could to help impoverished communities.

Among these socialites was Beatrice Kaster who was passionate about helping elderly people in the coloured community who were homeless or left destitute by their family, and often raised funds to help them.

Among the donors who supported her fund-raising campaigns were husband and wife Douglas and Eleanor Murray.

Mr Murray, a founding partner in Murray and Roberts Construction, bequeathed part of his estate to the facility after his death and his wife contributed an additional
R38 000, bringing their total contribution to R100 000.

Construction, undertaken by Murray and Roberts, was started and completed in 1968.

At the moment the facility has about 70 residents and 58 staff members to take care of them.

Chief Executive Officer, Fred Daniels said in the years since its establishment, the home had gone from being a “bed and breakfast for the elderly”, to becoming a facility that also catered for the mentally disabled and provided frail care.

“We thank each and every person, company, individuals, organisations, who have helped us through the years and we hope we can still depend on their help for years to come,” he said.

“As we reach this milestone of 50 years, we celebrate serving the community, ensuring pride and dignity for all. After 50 years we are still standing and there is a lot of goodwill in the community and every little bit helps. But despite the challenges we will continue to do the good work for the community.”

Mr Daniels also thanks the great staff who are passionate about the care they take of residents.

Keith Snyman, who has been resident at Douglas Murray for the past 11 years, said he thought he wasn’t going to make it after having suffered a massive stroke. 

“I basically came here to die because I was incapacitated and unable to move but thanks to the help of those at Douglas Murray I regained my mobility.”
About four years ago, however, Mr Snyman’s leg was amputated and he is now wheelchair-bound. This, however, has done little to dampen the spirit of this poet and author who will soon be releasing a book.

“The staff are so nurturing and loving and because about 75% of the residents have dementia or other mental illnesses the staff have it difficult sometimes but they are amazing. They don’t earn a lot so they are clearly not here for the money, they are loyal and dedicated.

“I wish Douglas Murray all of the best and I am happy to spend my days here because we have become family,” said Mr Snyman.

For more information, or to assist the home, contact Megan Schilder on 021 712 2146 or fundraising@douglasmurray.co.za

The home will be launching its inaugural Douglas Murray Home Charity Golf Day later this year. The aim is to create a platform through which they can raise funds for and awareness about the home. It will take place on Friday December 6 at Royal Cape Golf Club, with tee-off at noon. For more information, contact Karen Heeger at 083 386 0615 or send an email to events@douglasmurray.co.za