Australia Mourns 'Angel' Who Saved 160 From Suicide

by
redwarrior
Australians are paying tribute to a retired life insurance salesman credited with saving at least 160 people from taking their lives at a notorious suicide spot.

Australians are paying tribute to a retired life insurance salesman credited with saving at least 160 people from taking their lives at a notorious suicide spot.Don Ritchie was awarded the Order of Australia in 2006

Don Ritchie, who died aged 85 on Sunday, lived opposite an area of eastern Sydney called The Gap, which is also revered for its spectacular beauty.

He used either conversation, the offer of a cup of tea and sometimes even physical restraint to stop people from jumping into the sea.

Officially he is believed to have saved some 160 people but his family claim the number is nearer to 500.

Over the course of nearly 50 years, Mr Ritchie would approach people who were often on the brink of stepping off The Gap's cliff edge.

'Made a difference'

"I have spoken to many, many (people), just that way of saying 'what are you doing over here? Please come and talk to me, come over and have a cup of tea, come and have a beer,'" Mr Ritchie said in an interview in 2008.

"A big percentage of them came and talked to me."The sandstone cliff known as The Gap lies in a suburb of eastern Sydney

Senior politicians are among those who have paid tribute to Mr Ritche, and one called him a "great Australian".

One written tribute from a reader on a local news website read: "Don Ritchie made a difference in this world. He will never be forgotten and always remembered for his kindness and care for other human beings."

In 2006 Mr Ritchie was awarded the Order of Australian for his services to the community.