Commemorating Richard Gillard
On 25 June 2022 ABM lost one of its former employees, Richard Gillard.
Richard worked as ABM’s Financial Controller from 1996 to 2000 and was a long-term ABM supporter.
Before coming to Sydney, Richard worked for AMP in Brisbane. He then joined the ANZ bank, moving to Melbourne to help the bank set up its first computer centre. In Melbourne he became a parishioner at Christ Church, South Yarra. It was there that he began his Anglican journey in earnest. It was his enjoyment of liturgical worship which drew him to St James’, King Street, when he moved to Sydney in the 1970s. He continued to work for ANZ, taking on several key roles relating to the conversion of manual to computerised banking systems, including the setting up and running of Bankcard.
From 1983 to 1993 Richard was an Independent councillor at North Sydney Council.
Richard was working as an independent financial consultant when ABM invited him to become their financial controller.
Over the years Richard had come to know the work of ABM through his engagement at St James’ with people such as the late Bishop Ken Mason (a former ABM Chair). He developed a deep commitment to ABM’s emerging community development work and became a strong supporter of ABM’s programs in Myanmar and the Philippines. On occasions he hosted visitors from these partners, and in turn established strong friendships, which endured to the time of his death.
With the restructure of ABM in 2000, Richard moved towards retirement. He resumed some part-time consultancy work, but South-East Asia was clearly calling, and overseas travel became an increasing feature of his life, with Bali a favourite.
In 2017 Richard began to show clear signs of dementia which was formally diagnosed later that year. At about this time the “Thai Palm Diners” came into being. This group, comprising former ABM staff member, Colleen Hodge, the Rev’d Dr John Deane and others, met every second and fourth Thursday for lunch at Richard’s favourite restaurant – Thai Palm. The group met to support ABM’s Myanmar water program, but it also functioned as a hub of support and care for Richard.
Richard was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour six weeks before his death. He died peacefully with no pain and still able to recognise his friends.
Richard was an extrovert who loved people and parties. His Christmas barbecues gathered up “waifs and strays” – friends and acquaintances who had no Christmas family.
He enjoyed sailing, opera, ballet, trivia quizzes and playing bridge. He was fun to be around and could on occasions be outrageous, leaving one wondering whether he had truly said what one thought he had!
He brought to those who knew him fun and joy, leaving them not always with a laugh but at least with a smile on their faces. He was caring, quirky on occasions and a great companion.
He greatly blessed the lives of his many friends and acquaintances, who will miss him enormously.