Farewell, dearest Des, with love and thanks

Des MCleod, bottom, bottom row centre, with women at an Erinvale tea.

I would like to pay tribute to a very special person: Desire Mc Leod (also known as Des, or Aunty Des), who passed away on Monday September 19 in Somerset West, at the age of 67.

Kudos must go to an extraordinary woman, who dedicated the last 20 years of her life to her community.

She was one of the founder members of Erinvale Care and Help Organisation (ECHO), and her knowledge of the community was unsurpassed.

She kept her ear to the ground, making sure that if there was an opportunity to help, ECHO would be the first to extend a helping hand.

Her first love was the students, and her vision bore the fruit of the ECHO Graduates Programme. She wanted the graduates to pick up the baton and continue the groundwork she lay.

She delighted in the “new generation” of the ECHO family, and was like a granny to the children.

Like her own family, they were a major part of her life.

If you ever crossed her path, you would have certainly learnt a great deal and taken on the spirit of giving.

We applaud you Des, for all you have done and meant to so many.

You were a indeed a woman of substance.

There will be a memorial Service for Des on Saturday October 8, at 10.30am, at the Somerset West Baptist Church, on the corner of Hendriksz Road and Louw Avenue, and a tea in celebration of Des’s life at the Erinvale Golf Club.

 Lynette Pullen is a committee member of ECHO, which is a non-profit organisation, run by volunteers, and sponsored and supported by the residents of the Erinvale Golf Estate.

Since 2001, they have successfully sponsored 40 tertiary students, all of whom are employed, and in 2015 they shifted their focus to Early Childhood Development (ECD).

They also run the Somerset West Vegetable Garden, on the corner of Drama and New streets.

The aim of this project is to use the garden as a catalyst for change in the community, to promote sustainable development, and to beautify the park.

Additionally, they also collect and distribute second-hand clothing and household goods to those in need.