Dedicated to saving people’s lives, Don Ritchie was born in 1925 in Australia. He continues his military service in the Royal Navy until the end of World War II and begins to realize that life is full of hard struggles.
After leaving the Navy, he moves to live in Sydney’s The Gap. Ritchie’s nickname also comes from where he lives: Angel of The Gap.
The Gap actually has a deep history beyond just a nickname. The Gap region is above sea level, surrounded by sea on three sides, and is famous for its natural beauty and high suicide rates. Since the shores are perpendicular to the sea, it is possible to see many cliffs around. This region has gained a bad reputation due to the fact that the cliffs are beyond their intended use.
Don Ritchie, on the other hand, lives very close to the cliffs and can observe those who want to commit suicide by leaving themselves in the ocean waters very closely. For more than 50 years, he has struggled to ensure that the events they have watched do not have a bad ending. Relatives say the number of people he somehow rescued is about 400. Rithcie approached a person at the top of the cliff and asked, “Is there any way I can help you?” she asks and politely invites them for tea or coffee. This is exactly how he turned 160 people around the corner from suicide.
“I couldn’t just sit there and watch them.” – Don Ritchie
The people whose life Rithcie had saved stopped by Ritchie later to say thank you. It was an indescribable happiness for Ritchie to learn that some of them had started a new life, got a job or were studying.
After the lives saved, Ritchie was deemed worthy of many awards. He received the Medal of Honor in 2006, and in 2010, he and his wife Moya were named ‘Citizen of the Year’. In 2011, he was deemed worthy of the ‘Local Hero’ award.
Showing us that there is a simple and very sincere solution to saving a life, Don Rithcie died in 2012 at the age of 86, leaving hundreds of lives behind.