Graphic: Melva Stone
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Melva on behalf of our staff and supporters at the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and extend our sincere condolences to Melva's family and dear friends. Her daughter Kerry Stone said the motto Melva lived by was to 'live like someone left the gate open.'
Armed with an unwavering passion for making a difference, Melva’s incredible support for the Flying Doctor extended over more than four decades. She was awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2009 for her extraordinary efforts and commitment to fundraising and volunteering for the RFDS.
There’s no doubt the RFDS ran in Melva’s veins. Having lived in the Pilbara and Kimberley for much of her life, she understood the true importance of the Flying Doctor to people in remote WA communities and the peace of mind it offered to families living far from hospitals and healthcare.
Melva will always be remembered as a pioneer in the history of the RFDS in Western Australia and has a number of “RFDS firsts” to her name that will always be hers.
She was the first female President of the Flying Doctor in Western Australia and held the position of the first Fundraising Coordinator for the RFDS in WA. More recently, she was the first official Ambassador the RFDS in WA.
Melva’s understanding of the need to adopt unique and sustainable ways of fundraising to help secure the RFDS’ future will continue to be felt for many years to come.
From her pop-up vintage store to co-authoring a book, Melva was always innovative in her fundraising and spent countless hours raising money and awareness of the RFDS’ lifesaving services.
Melva also worked as an RFDS radio operator in Port Hedland at one point, where she was known for her down-to-earth and often humorous approach to her radio transmissions.
Her ‘gift of the gab’ was later used to excellent effect in her many speeches, presentations and writings about the RFDS and surviving and thriving in outback Australia.
The Flying Doctor team in Broome were particularly saddened to hear of Melva’s passing. She was very much considered ‘one of the team’ at our RFDS base in Broome and nothing asked of her was ever too much trouble.
As the RFDS’ presence in the Kimberley expanded, Melva’s dedication to supporting the local crew was simply incredible.
From leading tour groups through the base, to counting donation tins and staffing the RFDS booth at countless events, Melva was very willing to take on any role.Melva’s service and dedication to raising funds for the RFDS embodies the Flying Doctor’s commitment to providing the ‘finest care to the furthest corner’ of Western Australia.
As you will know, the people of the RFDS have always had a long and proud history of being courageous, dedicated and determined problem-solvers who will do everything possible to provide the best possible patient care.
Melva had all these traits in generous measure and will be remembered as a true RFDS pioneer.
We are incredibly grateful to have had such a remarkable person as part of the RFDS story.Her achievements and great character will continue to inspire for many years to come.
Vale Melva, you will be missed.