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Sybil Forsyth was born, with the expert help of midwife Nurse Cross, on the 10 March 1929, at the family homestead at Pihama.  She was the daughter of James and Annie Forsyth nee Barlow.  As a younger member of a large family, living on a dairy farm which her pioneer grandparents established in 1883, Sybil was able to develop her love for animals and nature.  As a youngster growing up in the years of the depression, she rode her bicycle two and a half miles to the local school at Pihama, undaunted by the challenging South Taranaki coastal weather conditions, "doubling" a younger sister.  In childhood, Sybil began to understand well, the love and companionship, the happy times and the trials and sorrows that a large family brings.


It was here that her practicality and wisdom grew, hence helping her with her decision to embark on a nursing career, when the opportunity arose.  For over 30 years, she worked in various hospitals in New Zealand, and spent three years overseas on post-graduate studies. Sybil was quick to accept every opportunity to study other peoples' lifestyles, art, music, horticulture and handcrafts.


Sybil firmly believed in the holistic approach to medicine, and that the growth and potential of every person should be developed - and that the essence of that growth began in early childhood.  So it was with these skills that she came to the Hawera Maternity Hospital, and then to the South Taranaki Plunket Society in 1972.  Sybil then worked for the Egmont Plunket Society, stationed at Opunake, servicing the area from Manaia (Waimate West County) to Okato, extending from the sea to the mountain.  Communicating and working with all nationalities gave her much satisfaction.


These positions she held and filled with total dedication.  She loved all her "Plunket babies" and the support she was able to give the "mothers", be they father, mother, grandparent or guardian, who were shaping and moulding the children who were to be future generations.  It was her privilege to share the joys in their progress, and the sorrow when misfortune overtook others.  Sybil Forsyth died on the 28 October 1992 at Hamilton and is buried in the Lizzie Bell cemetery, Pihama.


The ideals and beliefs she worked for were echoed in the sentiments of the Nobel Prize winner from Chile, Gabriela Mestral.

We are guilty of many errors and faults

but our worst crime is abandoning the children,

Neglecting the fountain of life -

Many of the things we need can wait, the child can not.

Right now is the time his blood is being made,

and his senses are being developed.

SOURCE        To him we cannot answer a "Tomorrow", his name is "Today".

Her family