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Coast loses a giving soul


Coast loses a giving soul

Harry Reed is being remembered for his philanthropic work, as much as his development and sporting legacy. WORDS: Caitlin Zerafa.

Tributes are flowing for a Sunshine Coast man whose influence has been felt throughout the community for his development, sporting, and charitable endeavours.

Harry Reed is being remembered after he died on March 26, aged 77.

Mr Reed was the founder of the Reed Property Group, a former chairman of the Sunshine Coast Turf Club and a patron of the region’s health charity, Wishlist, since 2007.

His profound philanthropic involvement in Wishlist for more than two decades culminated in him building an accommodation house to keep loved ones close to Nambour Hospital.

Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe is paying tribute to Mr Reed, whom she describes as a charismatic man and gentle giant with a heart of gold.

“Harry was larger than life – an imposing figure, with a deep, raspy voice and a charismatic air,” Mr Rowe says.

“Quietly spoken, he didn’t say much but when he spoke, you listened.

“Initially, I was nervous in his presence, but I soon discovered a gentle giant with a heart of gold and all the time in the world for the right cause.

“He believed very much in giving back to a community that had supported he and his family, and he did so generously.

“He was a dignified, respectful gentleman who loved his family and adored his wife Margaret. They’re a love story for the ages.”

Mr Reed and his wife contributed significantly to the $22 million Wishlist has directed to support families needing local hospitals, including the building of Reed House.

“In 2006, Harry contributed to a $20,000 ventilator for the ICU at Nambour Hospital, and then asked Wishlist what he could ‘build’ to help local health services,” Ms Rowe says.

“Accommodation to support patients, those travelling for treatment and those needing family close by to help their recovery was the priority need at the time.

“In 2007, Harry directed two years of Reed Charity Foundation’s fundraising efforts, and the generous contribution of contractors and suppliers of RCQ to building Reed House: a 20-room, three-storey emergency accommodation centre adjacent to Nambour Hospital.

“Since opening in 2009, the facility has played host to more than 22,150 guests needing to be close to Nambour or the Sunshine Coast University Hospital for medical treatment – or to be close to someone in hospital.

“Harry’s personal contribution to the project is reported to have been more than $1 million.”

The Reeds have been generous supporters of 92.7 MIX FM’s Give Me 5, the Wishlist Spring Carnival and Wishlist Giving Day, and their contribution to Wishlist’s work totals more than
$5 million.

Through the Reed Charity Foundation, which wound up in 2009, the Reeds directed more than $7 million to charity projects locally and overseas.

“These projects include Reed House (to which the family donated $1 million personally), a hydrotherapy pool at Currimundi Special School, the Nambour Hear and Say Centre,” Ms Rowe says.

“They also rebuilt an orphanage in India devastated by tsunami.”

Ms Rowe says Mr Reed’s legacy goes beyond his contributions to Wishlist, shaping the development and philanthropic landscape of the Sunshine Coast.

“Harry played a major part in making the Coast what it is today,” she says.

“As a developer, he’s left his mark on the Coast’s landscape in feature properties in Maroochydore and elsewhere across the Coast.

“Perhaps even more importantly, Harry and Margaret – along with Roy and Nola Thompson – are the architects of the special philanthropic culture the Sunshine Coast is renowned for. That culture of giving and supporting our own is part of what makes the Sunshine Coast so special.

“Harry led by example in giving to causes he felt made a difference in the world and, in doing so, encouraged others to do the same.

“So many local charities were the beneficiary of his generosity – and so many families will continue to benefit from his legacy of kindness.”

Local identity Ashley Robinson has been friends with the Reeds since they first came to the region in the 1980s.

He says Mr Reed was a “generous, giving soul” who taught him the true meaning of giving back to the community.

“I met Harry and Margaret when they first came to the Coast in maybe ’86 or ’87 in footy,” he says.

“He taught me a lot of things but possibly his best lesson was: if you are in a position to help people, do it. You get more back than you give.

“He epitomises the phrase ‘generous, giving soul’. The Coast is certainly better for him being here.”

Mr Reed’s funeral was last Friday. He leaves behind two children, seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

His son Ken says: “We are a very close family. Harry was very active in the lives of his seven grandkids and that was obvious at his funeral. They showed a lot of love, it was wonderful.”

A tribute to Mr Reed will form part of the 15th anniversary celebrations at Reed House on April 18, along with a plaque dedicated to his memory.

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