Soldiers blitz widow’s backyard

Connor Nish, left, and 41st Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment, soldiers Private Callum Nish, Private John Koronui, Corporal Paul Kohlhagen and Private Tom Mackney remove branches from Myrie McPherson’s backyard.

Soldiers blitz widow’s backyard

Army reservists from the 41st Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment (41RNSWR), rolled up their sleeves on December 12 to clean up the overgrown garden of 92-year-old Legacy widow Myrie McPherson in Lismore, NSW.

The 41RNSWR personnel joined Defence Reserve and Employer Support and Legacy Australia to organise the clean-up, which was part of the Backyard Assist program supporting older Defence widows.

The clean-up crew removed garden and household waste from Mrs McPherson’s yard before wild weather hit the North Coast of NSW, bringing heavy rain and strong winds.

“With the extra rubbish and green waste that was around the house, it was good to be able to remove the risk of any projectiles,” Major Adam Fairhurst, of Defence Reserve and Employer Support, said. 

Mrs McPherson, whose late husband served in the Army in Borneo during World War II, watched the clean-up with a smile.

“It’s a large backyard – too much for me. They’ve done a wonderful job,” she said.

Mrs McPherson recently lost her son, Colin, to cancer and her legatee Brenda McKenzie said the completed garden work provided a reason for the family to smile during a difficult time. 

Major Fairhurst, on behalf of 41RNSWR, presented Mrs McPherson with a rose bush that will flower with yellow blooms to commemorate her son.

Mrs McPherson thanked 41RNSWR and their civilian employers for their help and generosity. 

Defence Reserve and Employer Support are planning to help more regional communities with programs like Backyard Assist in 2021. 

To find out more about the Defence Reserves Support, visit

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