Our Board

Kevin Purvis

Kevin Purvis

Kevin is a recently retired Primary School teacher. Prior to that he worked in pastoral ministry for more than 20 years, in various Baptist Churches and Chaplaincy positions. In both these roles he gained wide experience in committees and boards of management. Kevin is the bereaved father of Stephen, who died by suicide in 2001.

He has three daughters and four grandchildren, enjoys lawn bowls, cycling and is a member of the Croydon Film Society. The Compassionate Friends was a great support when Stephen died and Kevin looks forward to joining his wife Jenny, who leads one of the bereaved parent groups, in contributing to this important work.

Lisa Gilbert

Lisa Gelbart
Vice President

Lisa Gelbart is a professional counsellor and clinical supervisor with many years’ experience in supporting bereaved families. Lisa is bereaved of two infant sons and connected with The Compassionate Friends Victoria (TCFV) in 2007.

She subsequently began supporting families as a telephone responder. Lisa has been a Board Member at TCFV for the past two years and a member of the bereavement advisory committee.

She currently works as a telehealth counsellor in the mental health and domestic violence fields. Her previous roles include coordinating peer support workers and facilitating bereavement programs. Lisa’s experience also encompasses the LGBT+ and disability communities.

Lisa has recently completed her Masters of Counselling and looks forward to seeing where life leads, while continuing to be actively involved with TCFV.

Vincent W

Vincent Wai

Vincent has been a professional accountant for more than 27 years. He returned to Australia in Mar 2020 for good not long after the pandemic started in Hong Kong.

After working in the commercial field for many years, Vincent felt it is time to volunteer and utilize his expertise for non-profit making organisations. He joined TCFV in Feb 2021 and has been working actively with our retired Treasurer, Daniel Bendel

Theresa Yeo

Theresa migrated to Melbourne in 2001, soon after the death of her daughter, Clara, 7.

She had been a community worker in Church, auditor in banking, before leaving her career to start a Fair Trade shop. After Clara’s death, she has focused on volunteering with TCF, where she found a lifeline community for her grief support, meaningful use of her skills and continued learning.

Volunteering in TCFV since 2003, she was on the TCFV Board from 2005-2012, mostly as Treasurer. She returned to the Board in 2019 to facilitate the leadership needs of TCFV as President.  Together with a cohesive Board team, the last 2 years have been focused on restructuring for a stronger TCFV and negotiating the COVID-19 challenges.

She continues to be inspired by the dedicated TCFV community who work tirelessly to support our bereaved membership in honour of the memory of our loves ones.

jo Knoll Pic

Jo Knoll

Jo Knoll has been a Board Member for two years and a Member of TCFV for over twenty years since her son, Matt, died in 1998.

Board Membership has been an exciting role and given Jo a greater insight into just how challenging and satisfying the role is in caring for our membership.
Her reasons for joining the Board were to further the public’s knowledge of the TCFV name and its work; to reinstate a bi-annual Gathering again as soon as possible and hold as many events and opportunities for members to come together. Unfortunately, the Board has been thwarted in some of its aims due to the COVID virus.

Jo is the Board Member and Chair of the Committee to hopefully work towards our next Gathering in Mooroolbark in October or November 2022.

Caring for our members and especially newly bereaved members at this time is always at the forefront of our minds and hopefully 2022 may see the virus abate and make our wishes possible.

Harriet Clegg

Harriet Clegg

Harriet Clegg is the Sibling Board Representative at The Compassionate Friends Victoria and after completing a Master of Social Work degree works in assisting children, young people, and their families.

Harriet enjoys supporting the organisation as a part of a cohesive team and her role is mostly centred around aiding the development of the siblings’ services offerings. Harriet helped shape the initial online chat responder platform and undertook Telephone Listening Skills and Chat Responder training to help others in their grief journey. Recently, Harriet collaborated with TCFV stakeholders on a new sibling specific website which excitingly has now been launched.

In her spare time, Harriet likes getting outside and trying new places for a hike and painting.

ROByn Reeve

Robyn Reeve
Board Regional Representative

Robyn works as an Employment Consultant in Ballarat. Robyn was introduced to TCFV by the then group leader of Ballarat after the death of her son Jacob.

Robyn did the Group Leader Training in 2009 to step in and take over leadership of the Ballarat Group and has been in that role ever since.

Robyn has a community spirit both in Australia and also in Africa where she has volunteered on many occasions in the remote communities of Zambia and South Africa.

Robyn is compassionate in supporting people from all walks of life and has recently joined as a support person for the new On line Suicide Support Group with TCFV.

Robyn is excited to see where this next journey with TCFV takes her in supporting bereaved families in times of need.

Robyn is the bereaved mother of –

Jacob aged 16, died by suicide August 2002

Kate Aged 22, murdered October 2002

Patrons of The Compassionate Friends Victoria

Rhonda Galbally AC

Dr Rhonda Galbally has spent more than 25 years as a CEO in non-profit, educational and community organisations including the founding CEO of ‘Our Community’, a gateway of tools, information, advice and training to improve governance and to help Australia’s 700,000 community groups find funds, grants, insurance, business partners and board members.

Rhonda Galbally has received a number of awards in recognition of her work in social and disability advocacy. She was recognised with an Order of Australia in 1991. In 2005, she was inducted on to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women and in 2012, she received the Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement Award at the National Disability Awards. In 2019, she was appointed a Companion (AC) of the Order of Australia.

Past Patrons of The Compassionate Friends Victoria

margaret harmer

Margaret Harmer OAM

26th July 1933 – 15th February 2022

Margaret Harmer was born in Perth in 1933. She came to Melbourne when she was sixteen and soon after met her husband, Lindsay Harmer. She became a private secretary and married Lindsay when she was twenty.

Lindsay had the first pharmacy in the rural City of Waverley and they lived in Glen Waverley. They had three children and Margaret’s life was mostly involved with them, the pharmacy, Lifeline, Save the Children, and other community projects in the emerging new suburb. Tragically in 1973, their son Rhys, aged 11, was killed in a road accident and Margaret severely injured.

In 1978, Lindsay and Margaret commenced TCF throughout Australia. After three years, Lindsay sold the pharmacy and they both worked continually full time for TCF for 13 years. They attended four TCF International Conferences.

They have seven grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. Sadly their elder daughter, Rosalind Nixon (59), died from cancer in 2014 and Lindsay (90), died in 2019 from Parkinson’s Disease.