In Sydney there is a place called The Gap. It seems a beautiful place, the sea crashes against rocky ledges, with cliffs rising above. Unfortunately, it is a place with a sad history.
In 1857 the ship Dunbar was wrecked there in a storm, with the loss of many lives. Only one seaman survived the wreck. Sadly, since then it has become known as a place where people choose to end their lives.
Luckily for many of these desperate people, in 1964 a man called Don Ritchie moved into a house just 50 metres away. When he saw people in need he did what he could to help them. At the start he physically restrained them while help was sought. Later, he just went out to talk to them, offering a cuppa and a sympathetic ear. He saved many lives, some say hundreds, his kindness earning him the moniker ‘The Angel of the Gap’.
Mr Ritchie was deservedly recognised for his efforts, among other honours he was named Australia’s Local Hero in the 2011 Australian of the Year awards.
Don Ritchie died on Sunday 13th May 2012 surrounded by his family and was buried on Friday. He was 85. Such a person deserves to be remembered, and the kindness Mr. Ritchie showed to those in need was known by many around the world. ABC, Herald-Sun, Telegraph UK.