“Just Love” is a nursery school situated quite close to Maranatha Frail Care in Newton Park. Occasionally the little ones walk to Maranatha, to pay a visit to the residents there.

On 3 October the kids arrived en masse, and brought with them a huge supply of cookies for the residents to enjoy (and which Matron Edna van Rooyen will ration!) . They sang to the residents, they read out poems, they said prayers, they mingled with the elderly folk, and they brought joy (Just Love!) to everyone. As a reward, Matron Edna gave the children some ice cream, before they made their way back to their aptly named school!


Every year MHA’s caterers (Eastern Province Catering) put together a most generous Christmas hamper of food and treats for the sixty beneficiaries of our social outreach in Gqebera (Walmer) township. The official handover took place on 5 December 2016. In the photo are the carers, the MHA Chairman, Odwa Mtati, and Nikithemba’s supervisor, Given Mpaliso.

Then, as a result of an Advent call to the congregation of Walmer Methodist Church to consider the elderly, Nikithemba was the recipient of most generous food parcels, which were distributed by the dedicated team of carers to the beneficiaries. The photo of a delighted recipient tells the story so well!

Nikithemba’s beneficiaries are elderly folk, most are in poor health, many spend their days alone while family go out to work or to seek work, and basic foodstuffs are hard to come by. This makes the gifts from EPC and the WMC congregation so meaningful; bless them for their generosity, and their concern for those who have so much less.


The Westbourne Road building was erected in the early 1930’s; the windows had become rusted and unsightly, the roof needed replacement, and a new coat of paint was overdue.

The beauty of the “old lady” has been restored! As the pictures clearly portray, the new windows have transformed the building, the new façade and signage have given the front a clean and professional look, and a scruffy piece of garden at the rear has been turned into a patio where staff and visitors can relax.

Thanks must go to our General Manager and Maintenance Manager for planning this make-over, and managing the project.




Aldersgate residents Lawrence and Sheila Rother have had caravaning in their blood for 42 years. Their last caravan was a Jurgens, with two double beds, onboard toilet, gas stove, fridge and microwave; it was virtually a second home on wheels. On 24 October 2016, at the entrance to Addo Elephant National Park, one of the caravan's wheels jammed, the axle broke, and the resultant damage caused by the wheel rendered the caravan beyond economical repair. The Rothers, who are now in their 80s, and who knew that they were gradually reaching a crossroads as far as their caravanning days were concerned, were understandably distraught that such a crucial part of their leisure and pleasure had been destroyed in the blink of an eye, and forced upon them. They had wanted to part company with their trusty caravan in their own time, but they are grateful that they were uninjured, and that no other damage was caused.

Lawrence and Sheila have kept a meticulous log book of their journeys across South Africa and Namibia since 1974, and their road map showing all the routes taken looks like a spider's web! They have towed their caravan over 90000 kilometres and, as proud members of the Caravan Club of SA, they have attended over 200 rallies organized by CCSA's head office, and 187 organized regionally. Their "brag board" ( evident in both pictures), which was recovered from the damaged caravan's door, proudly shows off the circular and triangular badges, giving testimony to their attendance. In 2005 the Rothers were chosen as CCSA's national  "Caravaners of the Year", in 2010 they won the regional award, and in 2015 were bestowed with Honorary Life membership of the association. Lawrence admits, sadly, that "a book, not a chapter, has closed". They do, however, have wonderful memories from their caravanning days (a distance of more than twice around the Equator!); the sights and sounds, the shared interest, the camaraderie, and the freedom which they enjoyed for so long. On a positive note, the Rothers say that they will now be able to spend more time within the Aldersgate community, which has been so supportive during this traumatic time.



Two recent arrivals at Aldersgate, Waldo Schumann and Guy Marshall, have quickly become biking buddies. These are their stories:

 Waldo Schumann: In 2008 a friend asked if I would like to join a ride in the Baviaans.  He lent me a mountain bike and it was a really great ride, and so I bought a second-hand bike without any shock absorbers, and that was the start.  I rode the Maitland and Cows Corner roads, and most other roads, with my friend.

 I then heard about a race near Bathhurst, the “Pineapple Enduro”, and decided to enter, to see what racing was about.  I found the saddle very hard, and so had foam rubber wrapped around it.  I arrived at the start of the Enduro in T-shirt and shorts , a bike with no shocks and foam rubber encased saddle. I was told that the race was “very technical (I had to ask what “technical” meant), but I finished the race in not a bad time, and things then got better because my son gave me his bike which he was not using.

 Thereafter I explored the Baakens Valley, riding along any path which looked rideable.  The bug had bitten, and long may it keep biting.  I have done the “Argus” twice, the “Addo Herald” several times and the “Karoo to Coast” once.  It has been nice meeting and riding with Guy, and being able to tell my wife, Loraine, that Guy and I are going to play in the valley!

 Guy Marshall: As a teenager I cycled from Linton Grange to Grey High School and back every day for four years, and to Church and Scouts every weekend, but not again until I was 54, when my daughter wanted to cycle as a sport.  I joined the Masters & Ladies Cycle Club in 1999 and entered my first “Argus” and “Herald” races in 2000.  0n my 7th  “Argus” I achieved my goal of finishing under 3hr 25min, but kept on with weekly local Masters & Ladies until December 2014.  I then bought a mountain bike to ride with the Hardcore ‘Time in the Saddle’ Group to ride mostly on gravel roads.  I cycle two road and two mountain bike rides each week.

On moving to Aldersgate I met Waldo who has introduced me to cycling in the Baakens Valley on single tracks, which is a much more technical and strenuous task.  The beauty of the valley can be seen best from the many cycle paths.  “Fat Tracks” have done sterling work upgrading the access to the paths and improving safety in the valley.

In the past 18 years I have cycled 122,500km on my road bike and 3,000km on the mountain bike.  That is the equivalent of three times around the circumference of our planet Earth, and it has helped keep me fitter, thinner and less stressed.  You see a lot more on a bike than in a car, and I have enjoyed every moment being aware of the beauty of God’s Creation.


Dave and Lin Jack of Irvine Villa have just installed a 5000 litre tank to capture the rain water off their cottage roof. Their intention is to keep their own gardens watered but also, in addition to the upkeep that they do, to look after the water needs of the beautiful gardens which adorn either side of the Village entrance gate.

The Complex Manager, Fred Marshall, contributed some of the fittings, and did the installation. All we need is a downpour to fill the tank! 


Saturday 1 October 2016 was another date for the record book of Aldersgate, with the opening of our new Braai - the rain certainly didn’t dampen the feeling which was evident right from the start, and continued until the 75/80 “odd” residents staggered home later in the evening. We can only say a huge “Thank You” to the three main builders – residents David van der Merwe and Basil Hawtrey, and Carel van Niekerk (David’s son-in-law), who worked so hard for about four months, not just for us, the current residents, but for the future residents of our little community. Of course, we must also say “thanks” to the others who assisted them in their project, and the many supervisors passing by who were always on hand to offer advice! 

The sun came out just in time for Rev George Irvine, in his inimitable way, to declare our new facility open, and cut the ribbon. Then the rain poured down again, and the cooks got to work (and, no, the roof didn’t leak!). 

We mustn’t forget the big contribution made by Joan Hawtrey, Joyce van der Merwe and her daughter, Deirdre (who made all the bread and noodle salad for the evening). These ladies sacrificed and supported their husbands in this project, and then put everything together for our very special evening – well, to give the men their due, they did arrange the liquid refreshments! Thank you too to all the others who contributed time and talents. 

Last, but not least, thanks to MHA for supporting us in this endeavour and helping us so much financially - we really appreciate it.

 Article submitted by Barbara Robertson/Aldersgate



On Monday 15 August 2016 the staff at CP Bradfield Frail Care and Bob Zeiss Bedsitters organized a wonderful party for the residents there. It was held in the Bedsitters dining room/lounge, and the entertainers from CCH Productions put on an energetic and noisy show for the residents and staff, singing a variety of hits from the 1970's.

In between all of the entertainment a delicious three-course meal was served, accompanied by orange juice and bubbly, just to get everyone in the party mood! An additional reason to celebrate was that new curtains had just been hung in the dining room/lounge/library (17 large windows, in all!!), adding new colour and beauty to those rooms.

Sincere thanks go to Eastern Province Caterers, who generously hosted the event, and to the staff who served with their customary smiles and courtesy, and who then joined the band in dancing to the music!


Residents of Wesley Gardens celebrated the advent of Spring on 22 September, by way of a lunch party. They had decided on an appropriate seasonal lunch of cold chicken and salads, followed by trifle, but hadn’t bargained on the downpour on that day! , Undeterred, the “Wesleyans” turned up, brollies and all, and enjoyed  the tasty  lunch prepared by fellow resident Merle Harmer.

Thank you, Lynné, for the photos from Shirley, and input. Well done to the organizers, especially Merle J.


All of the staff at CP Bradfield Frail Care reported for duty on the recent Public Holiday, dressed in their traditional clothing and painted faces. Staff celebrated National Women's Day by sharing their  rich Xhosa culture with all of our residents, who were entertained with song and dance. It was a celebration of the different  cultures in our country, and of women getting together with the same purpose in life, namely caring for and improving the lives of our elderly folk.  All of the residents and staff then enjoyed a cup of tea and cakes, while chatting about the roles women play in our country, and within the MHA community. Thank you CP Bradfield staff for this joyful and colourful expression of love and caring!


Spring brings with it beautiful blooms, as evident in Namaqualand in 2016, after good rain at the right times. So too the blooms in our village gardens herald the arrival of Spring. Eric Libala, who has tended the Maranatha gardens since 1998, was recently spotted at work, bring order and beauty to the gardens and lawns there. Thank you, Eric, for the work that you and others do, and for the joy that you bring!


Apart from the lovely gardens which residents and staff have created, and the beautiful trees, Aldersgate village has an abundance of birds. Residents Colin and Lynette Urquhart, recently settled in, are both avid and knowledgeable birders, and have already ticked off 22 bird species which visit or make Aldersgate their home, with more to come in the summer season.

Bird-wise, well established residents are a pair of Thick-knee(once known as Spotted Dikkop-Burhinus capensis-or Gewone Dikkop). A pair was first spotted (excuse the pun) nesting at the back of Jill McKenzie’s cottage some years back; they produced several offspring over time but few chicks, if any, appeared to survive, perhaps due to the presence of crows or cats in the area.

The latest pair have become permanent squatters in a secluded piece of garden alongside Pam Peddie’s cottage. It is a shaded and sheltered space, and ever since their arrival Pam has become the guardian over these terrestrial breeding birds, not even allowing the garden service to mow near the trees while the birds are sitting

Over the years Pam has watched many a chick being reared by the sitting (breeding) birds, but is not sure how many have reached adulthood. Fortunately the crows have moved away.

There must be many “bird” stories at the other villages; let’s hear from you!

(photographs courtesy of Colin Urquhart)


As a result of our request to MHA residents to contribute to our drive to provide warm clothing and blankets to our Nikithemba beneficiaries, we received an overwhelming response from residents across MHA, and even from outsiders.

Our Nikithemba outreach project in the Gqebera township has been truly blessed, and the generosity of MHA residents is portrayed on the faces of the beneficiaries.

May God bless all who contributed in one or other way to our winter drive.

Sr Lesley Lawson (Community Services Director)


International  Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on 12 May annually, the date of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The theme for 2016 is “A Force for Change: Improving health systems’ resilience”. Methodist Homes nursing staff celebrated this significant day by lighting candles, and saying the Nurses Pledge of Service. They made use of two symbols:

  • The Candle, as the light of comfort, hope, care and devotion towards residents
  • Their Hands, as a symbol of service, love, compassion and care.

All nursing staff recommitted to the nursing profession by the spreading of light, love and compassion. 
Throughout the celebration ceremony the nursing staff were all aware of the immense tasks and responsibility they have in working with the elderly at the end stage of their lives. All staff had an emotional connection and were very aware that the Nurses Pledge of Service binds them with accountability towards professional nursing care.

 After the ceremony the staff enjoyed a cup of tea with treats, and each received a candle as a reminder of the light, and hand lotion as a reminder of service and love.

I(Article submitted by MHA’s Nursing Services Manager, Matron Margie Kampman)


Energetic Aldersgate resident Basil Hawtrey, supported by his wife Joan and several other residents, held a most successful Soup Evening in the Aldersgate community hall on Friday 22 July 2016.

A great evening was attended by 84 residents, who enjoyed a tasty variety of seven soups, followed by pudding, all made and served by some residents.  This was followed by cabaret provided by some talented residents; the noisy and happy “Aldersgate Spirit” was so apparent, with everybody laughing and spontaneously singing along. Aldersgate residents certainly know how to party!!!


Our Cassia Gardens village in Sunridge Park is blessed with three sisters, all now living there.

 Margaret Roberts (88 years of age) moved into Cassia Gardens in June 2016. She met her late husband at a Company where they both worked. The rule there was that if two people worked for the Company and got married, one of them was forced to leave!

Val Gau (87) is married to Dennis, and they moved into Cassia Gardens in August 2014. She is a keen gardener and has created a gorgeous little garden at their cottage.

Shirley Prout (84) moved into Cassia Gardens in September 2015, shortly after her husband passed away. She loves the Arts, and used to be a dancer in her younger days.

 By all accounts the three sprightly sisters are very compatible, never really argue, but if they do get fed up with each other they just walk away….and retreat to their beautiful cottages! 

 From left to right: Margaret, Val and Shirley


© Methodist Homes Port Elizabeth 2016, Photographic copyright © Colin Urquhart, Karl du Preez, FLIPmedia