Bridging the gap for youth in crisis

Published on CMDR Chloe Wootten (author), WO John O'Brien (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Penguin, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Penguin, Sir David Martin Foundation

A copy of the Sir David Martin book in the foreground with the 80 ladies playing bridge in the Sir David Martin Mess at HMAS Penguin. (photo: WO John O'Brien)
A copy of the Sir David Martin book in the foreground with the 80 ladies playing bridge in the Sir David Martin Mess at HMAS Penguin.

HMAS Penguin in Sydney has a special association with a charity that helps young people in crisis.

For nearly 20 years the base has hosted the Lady Martin Bridge Day on behalf of the Sir David Martin Foundation.

The Sir David Martin Mess at the base is named after Rear Admiral Sir David Martin, KCMG, AO, RAN, who entered the Royal Australian Navy at an early age and had a long naval career before becoming Governor of New South Wales in 1989.

The Foundation in his name was created in 1990.

This year, 20 tables of avid card players joined Lady Martin, who is on the Foundation Board, and her daughter Anna Martin Beaumont, Development Manager at the Foundation, to raise much needed funds for the charity’s programs.

In excess of $6000 was raised on the day to support the work of Triple Care Farm, a residential rehabilitation facility for disadvantaged young people, majority funded by the Sir David Martin Foundation (administered by Mission Australia).

Two students from Triple Care Farm, accompanied by a trainer from the education program, travelled to Sydney to speak about the positive changes they were able to make.

Volunteers from Penguin, including the Dive School and HMAS Watson assisted with carrying tables, serving food and selling raffle tickets.

Warrant Officer John O’Brien from Penguin said the personal accounts were inspiring.

“All participants have a substance abuse issue and most are also suffering due to poor mental health, homelessness, unemployment, and disengagement from family,” he said.

“The three-month program provides counselling, care and training and funds raised on Lady Martin’s Bridge Day which we can support here at HMAS Penguin, in turn support this life changing program.”

Lady Martin said the support of Navy, as an organisation so dear to her husband, was much appreciated.

“From all of us at the Sir David Martin Foundation, thanks to all the staff and volunteers who helped on the day, the bridge players loved visiting HMAS Penguin,” she said.

Commanding Officer HMAS Penguin, CMDR Paul Gall greets Lady Martin and her bridge players at the annual Lady Martin Bridge Fundraiser in the Sir David Martin Mess at HMAS Penguin.

Commanding Officer HMAS Penguin, CMDR Paul Gall greets Lady Martin and her bridge players at the annual Lady Martin Bridge Fundraiser in the Sir David Martin Mess at HMAS Penguin.

Commanding Officer Penguin, Commander Paul Gall said hosting the annual event was a pleasure for him and his team.

“It was a personal privilege for me to again meet Lady Martin as she continues the great work of the Sir David Martin Foundation,” he said.

“It was great to see the ladies have such an enjoyable time, whilst raising funds for such a worthy cause.”

The Foundation and the Royal Australian Navy are linked by the vision of Sir David Martin.

“He was so proud of his Navy career and so keen to help young people make better lives for themselves,” Anna Martin Beaumont said.

“Thanks to all at HMAS Penguin for helping to keep his dream alive.”

Penguin has been supporting the Foundation on an annual basis since 1997.