Home' The Mt Barker Courier : The Courier - 2016-12-14 Contents PAGE 12 – The Courier Wednesday, December 14, 2016
By Melissa Keogh
Sixty years since tying the knot and Merv
and Kath Miles still know how to make
each other smile.
The long-time love birds celebrated their
diamond wedding anniversary on December
8, a milestone reached through their shared
passion for lawn bowls and the ability to
recover from the rare tiff.
“We’ve never really had an issue with each
other,” said Mr Miles, 86.
Mr and Mrs Miles are key figures in the
Gumeracha Bowling Club, as both are life
members. But before the bowling green it was
the dance floor and, like many couples of their
day, the Miles’ were first placed hand in hand
at a local débutante ball.
The pair grew up with each other in Forreston
and attended the same primary school.
But one fateful night, they danced together to
the well-loved and deb ball favorite The Pride
of Erin Waltz and the first spark was ignited.
“I was 16 years old and I asked Merv to
dance,” said Mrs Miles (nee Murphy), 79.
“Deb balls were in the in-thing when you got
up around the 16- to 18-year-old mark.
“The girls wore white frocks with a posy and
the boys had to wear a suit and bow tie.”
On December 8, 1956, the pair were married
at the Gumeracha Methodist Church before
travelling to Adelaide for wedding photos and
then to Forreston for a small celebration at the
Murphy family’s dairy farm.
The pair had their first child, Debra, in 1958
followed by a son, Donald, in 1960.
Mr Miles worked at an apple orchard for
17 years before he took a job with the former
Gumeracha Council, operating machinery.
Mrs Miles was also community minded and
spent much of her time with the Gumeracha
Country Women’s Association and Forreston
Merv and Kath Miles of Gumeracha will celebrate 60 years of marriage on December 8.
Deb ball the start of something lasting
By Melissa Keogh
For 20 years Felicity Bleckly lived in a
world without sound.
When Michael Jackson released the 1987
smash hit Smooth Criminal, Ms Bleckly never
heard it, nor did she hear Kurt Cobain’s raspy
screams in the 1991 anthem Smells Like Teen
Ms Bleckly thought she would be lost in a
world of silence forever.
But by 2002 her hearing was restored as
advances in audiology saw her eligible for
Last year the Strathalbyn woman, now 65,
played the piano at an international concert
for deaf people in Poland and this weekend will
perform at a student concert in Stirling as part
of her grade eight piano repertoire.
Ms Bleckly first knew her hearing was
impaired at the age of 16 after a standard
hearing test at school found she had high
frequency hearing loss.
She grew up around music and worked in
the music industry, selling pianos and organs
by day and teaching piano lessons and playing
music in restaurants by night.
At the age of 28 she was one day talking on
the phone when she suddenly thought her
caller had hung up.
Shifting the phone to the other ear, Ms Bleckly
realised the caller was still talking – she had
gone deaf in her left ear.
In 1985 at the age of 35 she was completely
deaf in both ears and remained that way for the
next two decades.
“I was out with my work colleagues one day
and we all went into a music store,” Ms Bleckly
said. “There were people dancing and suddenly
it hit me how much I had missed because this
was in the mid ’90s and I hadn’t heard music
for about 10 years.”
She gave up her life of music, grieving as
though she had lost a child.
She suffered depression and missed out on
20 years of music and sound. The doctors had
no real explanation, other than a suspected
long-term effect of contracting measles in her
“When I sold my piano I cried my heart out
because that was a real admission that I was
going to be deaf forever,” Ms Bleckly said.
“I didn’t even have a TV, couldn’t listen to
radio, couldn’t listen to music, couldn’t go to the
movies, couldn’t do all sorts of things.”
In 2002, a 52-year-old Ms Bleckly’s world
was restored when she became the 94th South
Australian to receive a cochlear implant in one
of her ears. The first time it was switched on
it was “instantly successful”. One of the first
pieces of music she heard after two decades of
silence was French pianist Richard Clayton’s
Ballade Pour Adeline.
In 2010 Ms Bleckly was fitted with a second
cochlear implant and five years later she
was invited to play the piano at the Beats of
Cochlea, an international concert for deaf
people, in Poland.
“The whole experience was so amazing that it
reignited my desire for music and to play the
piano again,” she said.
She performed Ballade Pour Adeline to a live
audience of thousands.
After taking lessons in Grade 8 piano with
Stirling teacher Elaine Henn, Ms Bleckly will
perform at a student concert at Sunset Rock
Church, Stirling, on Sunday.
Strathalbyn woman Felicity Bleckly lived for 20 years without sound after going completely deaf in
both ears. She was fitted with cochlear implants in 2002 and 2010, restoring her hearing and allowing
her to pick up where she left off with her love for the piano. This Sunday she will play at a student
concert in Stirling as she works her way through Grade 8 piano.
Felicity emerges from the sounds of silence
DEAF WOMAN RETURNS TO MUSIC
put out an urgent
raising appeal to
help protect more
than 700 school
the wet season in
The charity needs
to raise $15,500 by
December 30 to buy
brick HOPE school
hall in the Nakivale
Refugee Camp to
protect the building
and its students from
the approaching wet
The building’s mud
without baking leav-
ing them vulnerable
to the coming rains
if they are not cov-
ered and rendered by
the start of the wet
season in March.
was started by Bill
and Norma Osborne
from Narine after
camp 12 years ago.
Donations can be
made online at http://
Bushfires will happen again.
Make your ‘Plan to Survive’ at cfs.sa .gov.au
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