Juniper aged care residents and staff in Geraldton were delighted with the surprise arrival of a brand-new custom fitted bus, made possible by the legacy of a former Geraldton Primary School schoolteacher and active Uniting Church member.

Myra ‘Ethne’ Barclay, bequeathed substantial funds to Juniper which are being used to purchase eight brand new Mercedes Sprint buses, specifically modified for aged care residents to ensure comfort and safety on much-loved day trips.

The first of these buses arrived today at Juniper’s Geraldton aged care facility, Juniper Hillcrest, to the delight of residents and staff who have been fundraising for a bus for some time. Donations from City of Greater Geraldton, Crothers Construction and Mr and Mrs Patience, whose mothers both lived at Hillcrest, also contributed towards the purchase of the Geraldton bus.

Ethne’s son Grahame Barclay (pictured above right with volunteer coordinator Tim Law) said it is wonderful and very fitting to see the first bus delivered to Geraldton, where his mother lived and worked as a primary school teacher for more than 20 years with her husband Dr Hugh Barclay.

Both active members of the local Uniting Church congregation, Ethne and Hugh were involved with the fundraising efforts to establish Juniper Hillcrest, first opened in 1986.

“Mum was a big supporter of aged care and particularly loved bus trips during her own time in a residential care facility, so it’s great to know so many residents will benefit from her bequest,” said Grahame.

Juniper Hillcrest manager, Beth Thompson, said the bus will make an enormous difference to the lives of residents who very much enjoy regular outings.

“Our goal is to support residents in living their best life and bus trips play such an important role in this,” said Beth.

“With our own bus we can create so many memorable and happy experiences for Hillcrest residents where they can enjoy the best of our local surroundings and stay connected to their local community while still feeling safe and supported.”

To ensure ultimate safety and comfort the bus has been modified with high roofs, spaced seating, purpose-built side steps with handrails, adjustable armrests and tray tables.

Rear hooks for walkers, state of the art retractable wheelchair restraints and vertical grab rails on the back of seats are just some of the many other impressive features of the new buses, which will be delivered to a number of other Juniper facilities over the coming months.

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