“is there something I could do to help you?” A simple sentence and simple actions that saved 160 lives. Quite a legacy Don Ritchie left behind.
For almost half a century, Don Ritchie would approach people contemplating suicide at the edge of The Gap, just 50 metres from his home in Watsons Bay, his palms facing up.
Mr Ritchie told his daughter Sue Ritchie Bereny he would smile and say: “Is there something I could do to help you?”
“And that was all that was often needed to turn people around, and he would say not to underestimate the power of a kind word and a smile,” said Ms Ritchie Mr Ritchie, sometimes known as the angel or watchman of The Gap, is acknowledged to have stopped about 160 people from jumping to their deaths.
He died at St Vincent’s Hospital [in 2012], surrounded by his wife Moya, 85, daughters Jan, Donna and Sue, and four grandchildren, who travelled from across Australia and from Indonesia to Sydney to see him. He was 85.