By John Simpson

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Sadly, I am writing to advise you of the death of long serving BCA leader, Ivan Molloy. Ivan passed away on July 20th, aged 95, after a period of ill health.

Ivan served on the NFBCA Council, the forerunner to the BCA Board, for several years. Ivan was acknowledged for his outstanding contribution to improving the lives of blind people when he was presented with the BCA David Blyth Award in 2005.

Ivan dedicated his life to addressing the needs and aspirations of people who were blind or vision impaired, both within Australia and internationally. When I first met him in around 1957 Ivan was working with the Braille Library of Victoria as a braille teacher and welfare officer. He was later employed in a welfare capacity with the Association for the Blind at the George Vowel Centre in Mornington Victoria. He was highly respected as a tenacious advocate on behalf of the organisation’s clients, as much within the organisation as externally.

Ivan was also among those who understood the value of social and sporting interaction among people who were blind and many of us benefitted from his work in encouraging teenagers to take up blind cricket and then valued his wise guidance to ensure that we fully enjoyed the social activity that surrounded the game, but in a way where we rarely overstepped the mark.

Ivan served as President of the Victorian Blind Cricket Association in the 1960s and was active with the game and its administration at the national level.

In 1981 Ivan led a group of 16 to Sri Lanka where he had already developed close connections with the local blind community This tour, which incorporated blind cricket, swish (blind table tennis) and many opportunities to experience the local culture, formed the basis for Ivan’s long running commitment to supporting blind people in Sri Lanka and in other Asian counties.

With his life-long partner Lorraine, Ivan worked tirelessly to provide financial support and material aid to the Ratmalana School for the Blind and to similar organisations. Much of this work was undertaken through the BCA Overseas Cultural Branch, which Ivan led until its closure in 2016. The branch’s major project over many years was to cut to size and package paper that was provided by the then photo processing company Kodak. To accommodate this work Ivan gave over the workshop at his Mount Martha home and had his driveway reinforced to accommodate the heavy vehicles that delivered the paper as weighty rolls.

Our thoughts are with Ivan’s wife Lorraine and their family and friends.

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