Man celebrates 70th by helping others

Trevor Weber with family friend Michelle Thomas who introduced him to the work of Callas Foundation.

Trevor Weber decided to celebrate his 70th birthday by spoiling children from Bridgetown.

Mr Weber says his father and grandfather were involved with community-upliftment projects when he was growing up and they set a good example for him.

“My maternal grandparents had 13 children, and even though they had all these mouths to feed, my grandfather still saw it fitting to serve the children of Princess Vlei. He used to have a Sunday school, and my job was to ring the bell which announced that Sunday school is about to start.

“I remember how he would give this big Christmas party for all the children, and when I was a little older, I asked him how he managed to do it. He then told me he has a partner that I could not see, referring to God.”

Mr Weber now lives in Pinelands, but his early days started off in Rondebosch. His father was a “ball boy” at the Rondebosch Tennis Club – because of apartheid, he was not allowed to be part of the club.

“When we moved to Bridgetown, because of the Group Areas Act, we found a raw place with sandy roads and very little infrastructure. My dad’s love for tennis, resulted in him and a friend, Roy Alexander, starting the Bridgetown Tennis Club. There were very opportunities for children then. He approached the Rondebosch Tennis Club and they assisted with donating balls, nets and rackets, and they started off with mini tennis. This is where my love to sport started.

“There were many successful stories of how children who were at risk, changed their lives for the better,” Mr Weber said.

It was through a family friend, Michelle Thomas, that Mr Weber and his wife, Virginia, learnt of the Callas Foundation, a Bridgetown-based organisation that, among other things, provides cooked food for the community. Ms Thomas does volunteer work for the feeding project.

Mr Weber visited the organisation’s founder, Caroline Peters, to find out more about its work.

“As I drive through Bridgetown, I saw the challenges, and the timing was just perfect for me to celebrate my birthday with the children there,” Mr Weber said.

With the help of family and friends, Mr Weber was able to make a donation to spoil 200 children with sausage rolls, biscuits, lollipops, toys, sweets, chips, yoghurt and a toy, on Friday August 21 – his 70th birthday.

Ms Peters said they felt honoured that Mr Weber had chosen Bridgetown and her organisation to spend his birthday with.

“It was like Christmas in our road — the way the children ran down the road to get their party packs. It was beautiful. He really made it special for the children,” Ms Peters said.

She also surprised him with a birthday cake.

Ms Thomas said Mr Weber had made contact with her after seeing her Facebook post about the work of Callas Foundation.

“I generally make sandwiches and put them in my car and deliver them along the road,” she said. “This was before Covid-19 and lockdown. During lockdown, I got involved on a bigger scale when I became involved with Callas Foundation. We make sandwiches from 50 loaves of bread, and as I drive from Pinelands to Bridgetown, I would hand it out on the side of the road, as well as at Callas Foundation.”

Ms Thomas described Mr Weber as a gentle soul who was also very firm.

“He is a religious man who practises what he preaches. We need more men and fathers like him to take charge of our communities. Mr Weber is the father some people wished they had – he fills that gap.”

Mr Weber not only came to drop off the donation, but, together with his wife and the couple’s son, Mark, he volunteered his time to help on the day.

“Serving the community is part of our way of life,” Mr Weber said. “It has been passed on from generation to generation. I see it now in my grandsons. When we moved to Avondale in 1994, my family and I had a feeding project there as well. We served the children who were living on the street for three-and-a-half years, and, by God’s grace, we were able to help them all get off the street. Some of them were placed in foster homes and they were able to go back to school.” With the tennis club, my father was able to do that. He too got the children off the street and some of them ended up being champions in the game.”