News and photos archive

Vale Dr Jerry Leech AM

28 November 2023

Members of the extended Ryder-Cheshire family have paid tribute to Ryder-Cheshire Mount Gambier Home Foundation Vice-President Jerry Leech  who died on Sunday, November 26.

"We have lost a great humanitarian and a wonderful man who has left a huge legacy that his family can be enormously proud of," said Foundation President Matthew Dixon.

"We will miss his challenging intellect, energy and can-do attitude and most of all we will miss his friendship," he said.

Jerry was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the 2022 Queen's Birthday Honours in recognition of his significant service to the forestry industry, tertiary education and the community.  Read the citation.

He was Treasurer of our Foundation from 2003 until recently, and was instrumental in securing and administering a Building Better Regions Fund grant of about $500,000 which enabled development of our second home, Cheshire.

He also arranged a Rotary International Global Grant for the purchase of a GeneXpert analysis machine to test for Multi-Drug Resistant TB for the Ryder-Cheshire home Klibur Domin in Timor-Leste.

Some of the messages from members of the extended Ryder-Cheshire family who have sent condolences to Jerry's family:

Matthew Dixon returned as President

10 November 2023

Matthew Dixon will lead the Ryder-Cheshire Mount Gambier Home Foundation for a sixth year after being re-elected unopposed as President at the 2023 AGM.


Retiring Board Members Neville Gilbertson, Sue Roberts, Bernie Douglas and Peter Telford were also all re-elected unopposed.


Remaining Board Members Jerry Leech, Mary Heysen, Di Little, Greg Clayfield and Stuart Stansfield continue in the second year of their terms.


Jerry continues as Vice-President, and Bernie as Secretary.


The AGM also resolved to amend the Constitution to change the meeting schedule from monthly to every two months, or more frequently if required.

2023 Annual Report

10 November 2023

2022/23 has again been a busy year for our board in pursuit of the relief of suffering.


Our main focus has been looking at how we might go about building a new facility.


We have established that there is still significant demand for quality accommodation for people living with disability in our region and PQSA our current tenant is willing to lease any new properties that we may develop.


We started this year with what we thought was a clear path ahead and then things changed. City Collective developed and subsequently presented us with a pitch document that offered two different location options for the development of future facilities. This is an excellent and very professional document.


The Pitch Document was then used to try and attract an offer of land from the State Government and the City of Mount Gambier. This process is measured in years.


Whilst this was all happening, we became aware of a new Federal Government grant opportunity being the Growing Regions Program (GRP). This program had a very tight timeline which meant that we had no time to wait to be gifted some government land.


A decision was made to look at purchasing our own land and pursue putting in an expression of interest for GRP funding. There was very limited suitable land available. We then met with a local home builder, Empak Homes, which had just commenced construction of disability accommodation in Naracoorte. They have suitable land available in Mount Gambier and the ability to put together a plan that will accommodate the tight deadline.


It was decided that we should pursue this option with the understanding that it would not proceed without a successful outcome from GRP. The plan was produced and an application submitted to GRP with significant work in preparation of this document by Jerry Leech and Stuart Stansfield.


At the time of writing this we are still awaiting the outcome of our EOI application, notification of which was due in mid-October. If successful in Stage 1, we will be invited to submit a full application for GRP funding.




Our financial position continues to remain strong with a reliable and significant income stream. This strengthens our position when applying for government grants.


Jerry Leech after many years as Treasurer of the Home Foundation has reluctantly relinquished his position. Jerry has done a fantastic job with great attention to detail and very thorough and efficient reporting. He has handed over the reins to Stuart Stansfield who is also proving to be extremely capable.




Peter Telford has continued to look after maintenance issues on behalf of the board as they arise.


Chris Pfeiffer is our maintenance man and does a fantastic job.


We have installed external heating in the pergola area at Ryder. This has made that space much more usable for the residents in our cool climate. A huge success.


We also had an issue at Ryder with the bedroom doors needing to open both in and out. This has been attended to by Jack Cawthorne. It should be noted that Jack did this at cost. This was a significant job, and we are extremely grateful to Jack for his donation.




Sue Roberts has continued to oversee the maintenance of the gardens at both homes. Sue often ropes in her husband Peter to help and for this we are extremely appreciative.


We had to replace our gardener during the last few months.  Kathy Kotsovos is doing a wonderful job.


We are in the process of renovating the lawn at Ryder and this will make a significant difference to the appearance of the whole property.


The gardens are looking loved and fantastic thanks to Sue and her paid and unpaid team.


Information Technology


The very capable Stuart Stansfield continues to look after all the board’s IT requirements. He maintains FB and our Website, and this is done expertly as always with anything Stuart does on behalf of the board. An online portal has also been established with the aim of tracking scheduled maintenance work at the homes.




It was with great sadness that in October 2022 we learnt of the death of one of our much-loved residents. Kevin Clayfield, ‘KC,’ was the first resident of Cheshire and hence the King of Cheshire. He always had a wicked smile and was happy to greet anyone who arrived at Cheshire. He will and has been greatly missed.


However, this provided an opportunity for David  to move in and he has settled in extremely well. Welcome David.


The Foundation appreciated receiving donations in memory of KC, and other donations from private individuals during the year.


In August the board was the recipient of a $1000 donation from Tara’s Tipsters via the Mt Gambier Greyhound Racing Club. Several of us went along on the Sunday race day to receive a Cheque. It was a fun day.  The funds will go towards the building of a new facility.


The homes have been visited over the last year by a group of people with therapy dogs. This has been extremely well received by the residents and we hope this continues.


Ryder-Cheshire Australia held their Biennial Conference in Ballarat this year and we produced a short five-minute video with the assistance of Rob Tremelling for presentation on the day.  This was a walkthrough of the facilities, meeting some residents and staff. It was a professionally produced video that can be viewed via our website. It was well received.  A huge thank you to Rob for his time and effort producing this for us.


A huge thanks to Bernie Douglas and Greg Clayfield for the thankless task of producing the minutes and agendas for us monthly. Also to Mary Heysen, Di Little and Greg Clayfield for keeping us in touch with what is happening in the homes; and to Neville Gilbertson for his wise counsel and continuing support.


We all do our bit and as in the past the board continues to function extremely well and I thank you for the opportunity to lead this wonderful group of people.


Matthew Dixon

Thank you Tara Tipsters

August 2023

The Foundation recently received a $1,000 donation from the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club's Tara Tipsters.

The generous donation is much appreciated and has been deposited in our Next Home Fund.

The Tara Tipsters were established by Kevin 'KD' Douglas to support Mount Gambier charities. 

Looking to the future

November 2022

The financial strength of the Ryder-Cheshire Mount Gambier Home Foundation continues to grow as the board looks to future developments.

“It has become clear to the board that we need to have some documentation in place that we can present to potential land donors, benefactors and or sponsors be they private or government,” said newly re-elected President Matthew Dixon in his 2022 Annual Report.

“We have engaged the services of (Adelaide-based company) City Collective to produce a pitch document.

“This will be used in discussions with both local and state governments and others in relation to future development opportunities.

“I am very hopeful that we will have something more concrete to report in the next 12 months,” he said.

Mr Dixon,  who has been President since 2018, again congratulated Treasurer and Vice-President Dr Jerry Leech on being awarded an AM in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours and noted with sadness the passing of Kevin ‘KC’ Clayfield.

“Kevin was the first resident of our second home. He always had a happy cheeky smile and really did love his time in Cheshire,” he said.

“He will be dearly missed by his family, fellow residents and the staff at Cheshire.”

The AGM also returned board members Jerry Leech, Mary Heysen, Greg Clayfield, Di Little and Stuart Stansfield for two-year terms.

Other board members are Neville Gilbertson OAM, Peter Telford, Sue Roberts and Secretary Bernadette Douglas.

Tribute to Kevin 'KC' Clayfield

November 2022

Cheshire home resident Kevin ‘KC’ Clayfield is being remembered as someone who was blessed with a cheeky grin and a wonderful sense of fun and optimism.

He will also be an ongoing inspiration to all who met him.

Born in December 1964, Kevin was the youngest of 10 children of Dorothy and Lancelot Clayfield of Glenroy in the Penola district.

A large family and caring parents created a sympathetic and caring environment for a child with Down Syndrome.

His mother insisted he be integrated into all aspects of family activities. As the second child with a disability in the family, Mrs Clayfield was also keen that Kevin received the best of education.

This included completing a Tafe course which led to him being employed as an apprentice and ultimately assistant gardener at Boandik Lodge.

He initially boarded in Mount Gambier, but with the encouragement of his ever-confident mother, bought a house of his own in 1993.

In a great personal achievement, KC spent 27 years at Boandik Lodge, but in 2013 lost interest in gardening and went to work at Bedford Industries.

In time health challenges meant he could no longer live independently, so returned to the family property, Oakbanks Farm, for a period before moving into Jarvis Wing at Penola Hospital.

The opening of Cheshire enabled KC to realise his wish to return to Mount Gambier.

“The fantastic facility combined with the selfless and loving care provided by the Home Care Plus team has played a significant role in Kevin’s final years and in particular the last challenging eight months,” said KC’s brother Greg Clayfield, who delivered the eulogy at Kevin’s funeral service.

“The 20 or so staff provided remarkable 24/7 love and care in a fun-filled environment,” said Mr Clayfield, who serves on the Board of the Ryder-Cheshire Mount Gambier Home Foundation.

KC was an AFL fan and ardent Collingwood supporter, but at the local level came to be embraced by the North Gambier family and was for a time its water bottle manager and part of the inner sanctum particularly post-game.

Kevin was also interested in greyhound racing and was a registered post-race catcher at Tara Raceway.

He was also a capable 10 pin bowler, eight-ball player and word puzzle exponent.

Image of 1 person, glasses, thumbs up

Kevin 'KC' Clayfield - a character and inspiration to us all.

Therapy dog success

September 2022

Visits by pet therapy dogs have proved a big success with residents.

Handlers from the Blue Lake Obedience Dog Club's Pet Therapy Team bring an average of five dogs to the homes each week.  

Residents spend about an hour with the dogs, with the interaction bringing smiles to faces and melting hearts all round.   Activities include reading to the dogs which range from a Toy Poodle and Border Collies to a Golden Retriever and a Pomeranian-cross.

The visits began earlier this year.

Therapy dog pictured alongside resident

The therapy dog visits bring smiles all around.

Board Member Honoured

June 2022

The Ryder-Cheshire Mount Gambier Home Foundation congratulates Board Member Jerry Leech on being recognised in the 2022 Queen's Birthday Honours.

Jerry was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to the forestry industry, tertiary education and the community.

He has been Treasurer of our Foundation since 2003 and was instrumental in securing and administering a Building Better Regions Fund grant of about $500,000 which enabled development of our second home, Cheshire.

He also arranged a Rotary International Global Grant for the purchase of a GeneXpert analysis machine to test for Multi-Drug Resistant TB for the Ryder-Cheshire home Klibur Domin in Timor-Leste.

Side profile head and shoulders photo of Jerry Leech
Dr Jerry Leech AM

Foundation Welcomes Patron

March 2022

The Governor of South Australia, Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, has become Patron of the Ryder-Cheshire Mount Gambier Home Foundation.

“We were delighted when the Governor visited our two homes and feel honoured that she has now agreed to become our Patron,” said Ryder-Cheshire Mount Gambier Home Foundation Board President Matthew Dixon.

“Her patronage is welcome recognition of the work that has been done to build and maintain these homes for people living with a disability.

“We aim to provide the best accommodation in a caring, respectful and compassionate environment,” he said.

Mrs Adamson toured the homes and met residents, staff and board members during her first official visit to SA's South East in December 2021.

SA Governor, Her Excellency the Hon Frances Adamson AC, pictured with Cheshire home residents Kevin, David and Luciano.
Ryder home resident Bernadette received birthday well-wishes from SA Governor Frances Adamson. 

Photo gallery

SA Governor Frances Adamson visit December 2021

SA Governor Frances Adamson visit 2021.

BBRF Announcement 2017

(L-R) Jerry Leech, Neville Gilbertson, Di Little and MHR Tony Pasin, Federal Member for Barker.
Tony Pasin holding up the approved plans for Cheshire.

SA Governor Hieu Van Le visit 2017

Kelly Vincent MLC visit 2017

Kelly Vincent MLC (third from left) pictured during a visit to Ryder.

Governor General Quentin Bryce visit 2016

Governor General Quentin Bryce with residents.

SA Governor Kevin Scarce visit 2010

State Patron, the Governor of SA, His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR pictured with residents during a visit to Ryder in 2010. 

From our album

Photo showing two people
Visit to Government House.

Homes and gardens

Cheshire front exterior.
Ryder front lawn.
Raised garden beds at Ryder
Raised garden beds at Ryder.
Group photo taken in garden during workign bee
Working bee at the homes.


Head and shoulders photo of Lady Sue Ryder
Photo from Sue Ryder charity website:

Lady Sue Ryder address in Mount Gambier

Lady Sue Ryder was keynote speaker at the Rotary District 978 Conference held in Mount Gambier in March, 1991. 

Click here to listen to her address (27 minutes).