Under the leadership of Peter le Roux (the chairman) and Alpha Fransman (the manager), the staff and board members of the Railton Foundation embarked on a project to honour unsung heroes of Swellendam.  Four months ago notices were sent to the local media, churches, schools and community organisations to invite nominations honouring Swellendammers in seven categories.  These were:

Category 1: Persons who gave unselfish service to the community over a long period of time.

Category 2: Persons who went the extra mile to support an individual or a group of individuals in the community.

Category 3: Persons who achieved a unique level of academic excellence.

Category 4: Persons who achieved a unique level of excellence in sport.

Category 5: Persons who achieved a unique level of excellence in arts and culture.

Category 6: Persons who performed outstanding and heroic actions.

Category 7: Persons who performed uniquely in a field or who achieved excellence outside Categories 1 to 6, and who deserve acknowledgement.

Initially the response was slow, but during the last six weeks the enthusiasm grew and more than 30 nominations were received.  The panel who had to evaluate the nominations, found that all of them had merit, albeit for a variety of reasons.  For that reason, it was decided that all nominees would be honoured, although some in a different format to what was suggested by the nominators.

The function was hugely successful and true to its principles the Foundation honoured the professor next to the gardener and the hawker next to the farmer.  There was no discrimination on the basis of background, profession, religion, race or culture.  This was the best manifestation of what the Foundation has been striving for during the twelve years of its existence: Equal respect for everyone and their contributions, regardless of the unfair standards that our society seems to embrace and apply with so much vigour.  Hopefully this event will signal a new approach to how we perceive our fellow human beings in this town.

The Progress Christmas Band provided their usual high standard of soothing music at the start of the function.  Two professors from the University of the Western Cape gave speeches, that were short, but spoke to the hearts of the listeners.

The presence of Thomas van der Ven, the founder of the Railton Foundation, and his family was a significant inspiration to everybody present.  Consequently, they were loudly applauded and also offered a token of appreciation and honour.

The Railton Foundation Swellendam thanks everybody who supported the function in cash or kind.  The contribution of all nominators and those who were present, is equally appreciated.  The spontaneous applause given to all those who were honoured, created an atmosphere of unity and high praise for attributes that are easily ignored in a selfish and materialistic society.


Richard May 12/10/1923 – 16/06/2000 & Christine May 27/04/1925 – 17/07/2017
Daniel Bush 17/09/1944 – 2001


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