Richwood gives Noah a hand-up

Richwood Neighbourhood Watch members present a R9 000 cheque to Bernadette ONeale. From left: chairman Grant Ferreira, vice chairwoman Tania Nielson, Ms ONeale holding Noah, and RNW events coordinator Rozita James.

Little Noah O’Neale will start the new year on a high note thanks to the Richwood Neighbourhood Watch (RNW), which raised R9 000 to buy him a smart cane.

Last month Tabletalk reported on the two-year-old who was born with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a potentially blinding disease that has left him facing many challenges (“Noah survives life’s early storms,” Tabletalk, November 16).

When the RNW learnt of Noah’s story, they held a dance fund-raiser to help his family buy a smart cane, which costs between R13 000 and R15 000.

A smart cane has multiple features including increased obstacle awareness. It feeds information to the user by vibrating and transmitting sound signals.

Noah’s mother, Bernadette said a smart cane would be a milestone in Noah’s development.

“Because Noah is completely blind and has no light senses, his learning will come through echo and vibration which is what the smart cane works with,” said Ms O’Neale.

She said she was overwhelmed by the support she had received from the RNW and thanked everyone for their help.

“I’m also doing little projects on the side and putting away R100 here and there. Hopefully my angel can have his cane by Christmas,” she said.

The watch presented Ms O’Neale, with the cheque at its last meeting for the year, on Tuesday November 29.

Watch chairman Grant Ferreira, said it was fantastic to see how businesses had supported the fund-raiser, including: MGG, Western Cape Grill, JH Style Bar, Remex Mexican Cantina, Tony’s Liquors, Grow Peace Foundation, Exact Hardware and Carlos Mendonca.

The watch also handed out appreciation certificates to all those who had helped to keep the community safe throughout the year. Mr Ferreira urged residents not leave empty boxes of expensive new appliances, such as flat-screen TVs, next to their bins as it was “window shopping” for thieves.

“Either fold boxes up really small and then put it in the bin or I can pick it up in my bakkie and dump it,” he said.

He said a “lack of support” had motivated his decision to step down and a new chairman would be elected at the next annual general meeting in March.

He plans to stay on as an RNW member.

Warrant Officer Jacques Mostert said Richwood had a fairly low crime rate.

Theft of bins was one of the biggest gripes in the area. “What you guys have been doing is obviously working so continue doing that. We are also geared up for the festive season,” he said.

Afterwards, Richwood Ratepayers’ Association (RRA) discussed its need for a new chairman and vice chairman.

Current chairman, Kim Krause, who is returning to Canada next year, urged people to consider volunteering for the posts saying it was a “thankless job” but a necessary one.

“If I’ve learnt anything during this time it’s that tons of people want to live here. I put my house on the market a few days ago and it’s already been sold.”

* For details about the RNW and RRA contact Grant Ferreira at 082 804 2257.