Friendships at 2RPH

Fri, 18 December 2020

In the lead-up to Christmas, we wanted to share some of the incredible stories of friendship and connection among the volunteers at 2RPH. Here, we share three such friendships.

Helen and Dimitry

Dimitry and Helen

[Image: Helen and Dimitry]

This month, Helen Irving and Dimitry Moraitis not only celebrate 10 years of volunteering at 2RPH but a friendship that started at an induction session in 2010. “When we met at the induction course we sat beside each other and discovered that we had a bit of a connection in that she was a professor at the University of Sydney and so too was my partner (which they still are),” says Dimitry. “Once we started working together as a team (with Joan de Carvalho) we found that we had similar attitudes and interests in life.”

Regularly working together on The Weekend Australian since 2013, the pair have grown a sturdy decade-long friendship both in and out of the station. “Dimitry is warm and funny, and even when he gets stressed (which happens), he is able to laugh at himself. He is very supportive of other volunteers – always ready to assist with technical and other advice, always contactable in an 'emergency',” says Helen. “We both grew up in Victoria in the same era, and we share a lot of views and values, as well as memories of Melbourne and of the political and cultural events of the time. We have great conversations while we're preparing the papers for our shift, and we continue these conversations when we meet up socially with our partners.”

Dimitry shares that it wasn’t long after meeting and discovering mutual interests and attitudes that they started socialising outside of 2RPH with their partners. “[Helen] has a lovely caring personality and her interest in people makes me feel comfortable and included. My partner and I thoroughly enjoy her and her husband’s company.” This year, more than any other, may have highlighted the people in our lives, the connections and relationships we have forged over our years and experiences. “Friendships give us a meaning of life,” says Dimitry. “Friendships support us in times of need, they provide companionship. Our friends are our confidantes and they allow us to share life’s experiences. It saddens me that many friendships come and go as we move on for different reasons. But we try to learn from those encounters and don’t let them get us down.”

Helen agrees: “Life would be lonely and bleak without friendships! Friends expand one’s horizons and open up new ways of seeing the world, as well as leading to new connections.” After deciding to volunteer all those years ago, it has been an “unexpected benefit” for these two in forging a beautiful friendship.

Dimitry and Teresa

Dimitry and Teresa

[Image: Dimitry and Teresa]

“Life-affirming, supportive and encouraging,” that’s what Dimitry’s friendship means for fellow volunteer and presenter of Ageing with Attitude and Meditative Moments, Teresa Plane.

After meeting at the 2RPH Christmas Party in 2016, the newly recruited Teresa, who was feeling on the edge of the group, was suddenly drawn into the centre and introduced to other volunteers by Dimitry and his partner. “In 2018, Teresa suggested recording Ageing with Attitude, and, knowing that she didn’t feel confident with computers and the recording application, I offered to help her. I was pre-recording Guardian Australia every fortnight so I was able to just add an extra hour to my studio time to help her out,” shares Dimitry. “It didn’t take long for us to become good friends, regularly going to lunch together at Esca Café (across from the studio).”

Friendship can mean something different for all of us, but for Teresa it means “long conversations with people of like mind, good wine with slow meals and of course, endless cups of tea, of tossing around ideas, sharing experiences, sharing good times and bad times, and just being there for each other. Love has been praised endlessly but friendship is often forgotten. I celebrate all my friends and the ties that bind us together.”

For Dimitry, it isn’t hard to be friends with Teresa. “Simply put, she has been an inspiration. She has had an amazing and fulfilling life first as a young nurse and later running her own hospital and being involved in a myriad of other things. She just doesn’t give up. I feel like a sloth beside her! She’s very special to me.

Pam and Peter

Pam and Peter

[Image: Pam and Peter]

If you’re a regular listener of The Australian newspaper program on Fridays, you’ll be familiar with Peter Theodore and Pam Nemeny.

This regular Friday team have been working together for the past five years, sharing laughs, being “equally cynical, which we both find entertaining,” and being open in sharing their views on just about any topic.

“Peter is a gem,” says Pam. “He is always in good spirits and we routinely laugh about the same things. I love coming into the station every week and one of the reasons is Peter. He is a wonderful, strong and very interesting man. He lives a very full and active life, and seems to be indefatigable – amazing!”

For Peter, the friendship with Pam has made working together a joy. “We both really enjoy coming in on a Friday and talking about anything and everything. [Friendship] is probably the most important social thing in anyone’s life after direct family; it keeps the fires burning and let’s us look forward.” The pair also share about their lives outside of the station, with “travel nut” Pam always ready to hear one of Peter’s travelogues.

While the pair have enjoyed many laughs preparing The Australian, this year has also been coloured by sadness. “I was very upset for Peter when his gorgeous Bev passed away this year. He has been heroically brave and pushes through each day with never a complaint. He manages somehow to leave his grief at the door and I admire him enormously for that,” Pam says. “There are a lot of wonderful people at 2RPH but Peter is my base. He anchors me to the station and we are very comfortable working together.”

Peter says that they always look forward to their time together at the station, but “…when Pam is away carrying out family and travel duties, I find I look forward to when she returns.”