A Good Deed is Never Lost

A Good Deed is Never Lost
Retirement Living

We learn about the dynamic life of retirement living resident and dedicated volunteer, Annette Lennerts.

5th June 2024

Some people were born to do good in the world. As President of the SwanCare Centres Auxiliary group, in addition to other voluntary roles within the community, retirement living resident Annette Lennerts is one of those special people. We sat down with Annette to learn more about her and the life she’s lived. 

Home is Where the Heart is 

Annette’s life started in the Netherlands where she lived with her parents and younger brother in a small house in the South, before moving to an apartment when she was eight. At the time she had no idea she would eventually call Australia home, but after meeting Hugh everything changed. 

“We met when he was on holiday travelling through Europe, he then invited me on a holiday of my own to Australia,” explains Annette, “We just got on so well and I ended up staying.” 

Annette loved Australia and was instantly attracted to the vast open spaces and Australian people. 

“Life was more restrictive in the Netherlands. Places were small, everyone knew everyone, and everyone knew everything about everyone! 

Here, I found open space and freedom. I enjoyed meeting the many friendly people who are willing to help you if needed, but don’t invade your privacy! That really appealed to me.” 

The couple got married in Perth, later having a daughter and a son. They lived in Victoria Park where she assisted Hugh in his Accountancy practice and worked as a teacher’s aide, before the family moved to Collie where Annette worked at the local pharmacy. 

“I was in charge of the vitamin section. I also had a column in the local paper, ‘Health and Beauty with Annette!’ I didn’t have any qualifications to do that, but I used to get my facts from books and reference them!” 

Annette was also the Cub Scout Leader in Collie for many years. She says she’s proud to have taught many boys to cook and look after themselves through the Scout program. 

After the family moved back to Perth, she worked for the Medical Defence Association before attending Curtin University to achieve a Diploma in Quality Management. Annette worked as a Quality Management Consultant for several years, finishing her career as Hugh’s partner in a Company Secretarial practice before moving to SwanCare. 

Community Calls 

Annette and Hugh moved to SwanCare in December of 2021 and have become well and truly ingrained in the SwanCare family. The pair are involved in various clubs and groups, filling their social calendar right to the top! 

One of Annette’s voluntary roles is being President of the SwanCare Centres Auxiliary. Annette explains what they do and why she loves being part of it. 

“It’s a fundraising group where we have meetings, guest speakers and organised outings. 

We sell raffle tickets and lucky numbers to help raise money. People also pay an annual membership fee that goes towards a pot of funds. 

We have four residential aged care centres at SwanCare that we subsidise with our funds. It’s lovely because you know you’re making a real difference to the lives of the residents in care. 

If any residents are interested in joining us, I hope they know they’re welcome with open arms!” 

When discussing her other roles, Annette shared she’s also achieved her bus driver’s license. This has enabled her to join SwanCare’s volunteer team as a village bus driver, taking residents to and from various outings around Perth. 

“It’s not too difficult. I've driven a car with a caravan around Australia – the bus is easier!” 

Other activities she’s involved in include Indoor Carpet Bowls, Line Dancing, the Heart Foundation Walking Group, and the Art Group, describing herself as quite a creative person. 

“I used to make costumes for my grandsons. They had themed parties they went to, so they always asked me to get the machine out to make their costumes!” 

Aussie Adventures 

Outside of SwanCare life, Annette and Hugh love to travel wherever and whenever they possibly can! They currently have plans to head to Broome later this year in their caravan, followed by Manjimup for Christmas where Hugh’s brother has a farm. 

“We’ve travelled a lot and had all sorts of experiences,” said Annette, “We are hoping to keep doing that for as long as possible.” 

Annette reminisced about her first holiday in Australia and the many different culture shocks that came with it. 

“Homes are built for cold weather in the Netherlands, even the toilets are heated! But coming here when the toilet was not necessarily in the house, and the house itself was only made of weatherboard, it was very cold. That was difficult to get used to. 

And the technology… I remember seeing washing machines with wringers on the top. That was a shock!” 

Thank you for sharing your story with us Annette, it has been lovely getting to know you and the wonderful role you play within our SwanCare community. 


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