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A Champion of SRI

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22 February 2022

Des is one of our former SRI Instructors, a champion of SRI.

Dr Des Gaffney (MA, BSc, BTh, PhD) aged 95 years is a Christian living in Montrose, Victoria. He served as a Senior Meteorologist in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (1948 – 1991) and was highly commended for contributions to meteorology. He also served for lengthy terms in the Christian Church as elder, deacon, preacher and teacher.

Dr Gaffney commenced providing Religious Education (now termed Special Religious Instruction, SRI) in government primary schools in 1993 at Clarinda Primary School. Subsequently, he instructed for extended periods in eight different primary schools, mainly in the Clarinda, Clayton and Mulgrave areas; and received several awards for his contribution to SRI over the years.

For 23 years (1993 – 2016) Des gave hundreds of students the opportunity to learn about the love and grace of God through SRI. Prayerful support and encouragement from Clayton Presbyterian Church was indeed a great blessing during these years of school involvement. There were 12 other committed SRI instructors attending the church during that period. What a privilege to sow into the lives of these young people over this period.

In his SRI classes, Des had genuine compassion especially for children coming from challenging home environments. Through his modelling and instruction, he offered students love and acceptance, purpose and hope. Des continued to provide SRI until he was almost 90 years old and would have undoubtedly continued if not for a change in Victorian Government policy which led to the removal of SRI in class time.

As at 2022, Des has been blessed with four married children (one deceased), seven grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren; family gatherings are highlights in his life.

Des now resides at Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes and is active in Kirkbrae Church and its community.

Thank you Des for your dedication and commitment to serving God and community, and for the 23 years that you served as an SRI instructor.