Ms Armitage (Launceston) - Mr Deputy President, I am sure many people in this House and right around Tasmania have heard of the WD Booth Charitable Trust. They have not only heard about it, but many would have benefited from it.
Today, I speak about the extraordinary Winifred Daphne 'Kim' Booth of Launceston. Mrs Booth was born on 22 October 1914 in London into the wealthy Denny family. She had quite a privileged upbringing and was known by her middle name, Daphne, to the family.
Mrs Booth, then Miss Denny, received her education at a private boarding school in England and then spent a year at a finishing school in Switzerland. Her father, Bernard, was a partner in a stockbroking firm on the London Stock Exchange. He earned the title of 'Father of the London Stock Exchange' for his years of service and loyalty. Miss Denny's brothers Neville and Moreland were also stockbrokers.
Miss Denny was greatly loved by friends and her family and she loved to socialise at the Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly. She also spent her time playing tennis and golf. She seemed to leave a distinct impression on everyone she met and was a very proud woman with a good sense of humour.
When she was 23, she met Robert Philip 'Pip' Booth, a 28-year-old Australian man who was in the United Kingdom doing postgraduate studies in surgery. Dr Booth was also learning to fly at the time and Miss Denny accepted an invitation to go on a joy flight with him, which was the first of many.
At the end of 1937 Dr Booth left England. He joined the Royal Australian Navy and served on HMAS Canberra. Miss Denny, or Kim, as Dr Booth now called her, joined the motorised transport corps and drove an ambulance during the London Blitz of World War II.
Four years passed and although they had not seen each other during that time, in 1941 they decided they wanted to get married. Miss Denny travelled to Australian by passenger ship and soon after she arrived she and Dr Booth married in Sydney.
In 1942 Dr Booth was discharged from the navy as he was to become the resident surgeon at the Launceston General Hospital. Dr and Mrs Booth then travelled to Launceston and took up residence there, where they remained for the rest of their lives.
Dr Booth established a very successful medical practice in Launceston. During his down time he and Mrs Booth enjoyed playing golf and assisting charity organisations whenever they could.
In 1974 Dr Booth passed away and soon after his death, Mrs Booth experienced some health issues of her own. As her health declined Mrs Booth rarely left her home, but during this time she always kept a shrewd eye on her numerous investments across the globe.
When she passed away in 2000 leaving behind no heirs, Mrs Booth left a sizeable estate which was transformed into the WD Booth Charitable Trust under directions in her will. Even after her passing, her wish to help others less fortunate continued.
Mrs Booth has been described as a proud woman with a great sense of humour who was dearly loved by her friends and family. It is also said she expected respect from people, but had little time for people who she considered did not know their place.
Although Mrs Booth died in 2000 at the age of 85, her legacy lives on. The trust in her name is now administered by trustees and benefits a wide range of community and not-for-profit organisations every year.
The trust has donated almost $6 million since its inception to over 130 organisations. The trust donates to arts, youth, health, disability or general humanitarian projects. It is often the first donor in a project. The main incentive for the donations is they have to make a difference.
Many of the recipients of trust donations are organisations previously but no longer supported financially by the government.
This trust has given considerable support to Tasdance for its educational work as well as funding to assist schoolchildren from low socio-economic areas to attend days at Hagley Farm Primary School.
The trust has also strongly supported Junction Arts Festival since its inception and Interweave Arts. It also donates to Whitelion and Northern Joblink, both of which work with children and people at risk in the justice system.
Mrs Booth was a generous lady and one of Launceston's most well-known socialites. Recently the trust decided Mrs Booth's story should be immortalised in writing and earlier this year A Woman of Charity, Winifred Daphne Booth's story, was published.
Anyone who is interested in a pioneering, strong, independent lady with a very kind and generous heart should think about purchasing a copy of her life's story. All proceeds from the book will be put back into the trust to further help organisations and individuals in need.