The Founder of the Compassionate Friends:
Canon Dr. Simon Stephens speaking at UK TCF Annual General Meeting August 2014

Reverend Canon Dr. Simon Stephens speaking at UK TCF Annual General Meeting August 2014

Sincere Thanks From Simon

Words almost fail me as I attempt to express my gratitude for the really amazing itinerary which you put together for me, so that I could visit the TCF Family in the five state capitals.

I arrived back on time yesterday afternoon at 13.00 to be greeted with well over 300 emails - a few of which, I shall be answering this weekend, because of their apparent urgency.

But my first email is to both of you ; and to all those caring and generous TCF members who so very kindly and gently,passed me from hand to hand across your wonderful country.  All my flights were safe and on time, the accommodation of my generous hosts, marvelous - but most important of all, I was very conscious of that great legacy of love which made my visit possible!  We shall never ever know the lasting impact of my visit and the media exposure given to TCF, but there are already indications that the hearts of many were touched.  Thank you so much for making that possible!

Needless to say, in the early hours and late at night, I have written many copious notes on my visit and when I return to the UK, I will weave together a report with some suggestions/recommendations which I will share with you and other TCF leaders across Australia!

Meanwhile, I am now hard at work preparing for the Melanesian Youth Mission 21 - 28 June!  On Sunday 28 June after the 8am Mission Service in St Barnabas Cathedral, I will fly back to Brisbane to overnight at the Airport Hotel before flying back to the UK over 29/30 June.  God willing, I shall be arriving back at my home before Midnight on Tuesday30 June!

As the President of TCF Australia, please may I ask you Mike to convey my warmest good wishes and gratitude to all those TCF leaders who` contributed to the success of my visit and tell them that I shall be writing to them individualy as soon as possible!

 Thank you so much for all your kindness and generosity!


About TCF

The Compassionate Friends is an international organisation of bereaved parents and siblings offering friendship and understanding to other grieving families. It was founded in 1969 in the UK by Canon Simon Stephens who had observed the support that bereaved parents can provide to other bereaved parents during his time as a hospital chaplain.

Australia's first branch of the Compassionate Friends was established in Victoria in May, 1978 by Margaret and Lindsay Harmer. This was closely followed by a branch in New South Wales and Queensland. Now there are also branches in ACT, South Australia and Western Australia.

Canon Stephens recently retired as a Royal Navy Chaplain and is undertaking a sabbatical in the Solomon Islands. Because of his relative proximity, Simon has been invited to visit the family of Australian Compassionate Friends organisations that are a direct result of his insight nearly fifty years ago. His visit will take in all the states and territories except Tasmania and Northern Territory. We expect that this visit will result in an increase in public awareness of the support and services that the Compassionate Friends can provide.

Programme and Itinerary

 This is Version 6 of the Programme and was the final version.







Friday, 8 May 2015





Saturday, 9 May 2015



Lunch + Meeting at Catholic University


Sunday, 10 May 2015



Morning Service at HMAS Watson (Mother's day)

Lunch at Rose Bay RSL


Monday, 11 May 2015



Lunch Hazlehurst, Sutherland


Tuesday, 12 May 2015



 Australian War Memorial - accompanied by Mat Heffernan (Lifeline). Dinner at a restaurant that night with committee members.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015



 Press during the day and also sight seeing of Simon's choice, to be chosen at dinner the previous evening.


Thursday, 14 May 2015



 We have arranged a lunch activity on Thursday at our memorial seat in Weston Park.  We will have a short ceremony and then lunch together


Friday, 15 May 2015



 AM Canon Stephens will be interviewed for a morning radio show.


Saturday, 16 May 2015



 Awareness Walk starting at Parliament House and concluding with a Dove Release. Followed by lunch and speech with representatives from health, govt, business, sponsors and other relevant bodies as well as members which should continue into the afternoon for a couple of hours.


Sunday, 17 May 2015








Service at Christs Church Anglican church, invited to talk by Canon Darryl Cotton. Followed by supper at the church.


Monday, 18 May 2015



“Breakfast meet & greet” with supporters in this community including the Mayor of Mandurah, our MLA, the Minister for Health, other politicians, reps from businesses and community agencies such as police etc and media





We will show him our drop in centre & memorial benches & tour our beautiful city of Mandurah, coast etc and that evening a dinner with our committee members & their spouses


Tuesday, 19 May 2015



 Met by a Board member who will take him to his Hotel (Pensione) and then take him for lunch with other Board Members. Taken to The Place of Reflection garden in Kings park (TCF are one of the consortium of organisations who developed this garden).


Wednesday, 20 May 2015



Taken to St. Georges Cathedral for 10:30 service. Meeting with church dignitaries.


Thursday, 21 May 2015





Friday, 22 May 2015



Fundraising lunch at Clover Cottage Berwick Inviting current and past TCF members, friends and family. Guest Speaker: Canon Stephens


Saturday, 23 May 2015



TCF National Awareness Day


Sunday, 24 May 2015



“An Afternoon with our Founder Canon Simon Stephens”
Host an Invite Only to early  members of TCF Victoria (including Lindsay and Margaret Harmer to “An Afternoon with Our Founder” where we will ask Canon Stephens to discuss the early history of TCF international and the members to discuss the early history of TCF Victoria and the value of the work we do.  An update of where TCF is today and the type of support we give and need back from the community.


Monday, 25 May 2015



Visit to Victorian Founders
Simon Stephens to visit Lindsay and Margaret Harmer at their residence


Tuesday, 26 May 2015



 Met by President Vera Caltabiano and our Vice President Lorraine Edgley. Taken to drop-in centre then to hotel.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015



 Simon will be picked up from his hotel around 8.30am by Lorraine and Joy. Morning tea river cruise of Brisbane, get off at Southbank for lunch. Pick Simon up for a Dinner with our committee and members at New Farm Bowls Club on the banks of the Brisbane River.  After dinner we will listen to Simon address those present


Thursday, 28 May 2015



 Simon's Address to Meeting, Lunch, Meet and greet with members and professionals


Friday, 29 May 2015