Few people have as strong an affinity with the Highfields retirement community as Reverend Phil West.

Rev West, who serves as both Carinity Brownesholme Manager and its Chaplain, has been involved with the retirement village since before its inception.

The retirement village was originally envisioned by local resident Molly Browne, who in her will requested that her family’s 120 acre dairy farm be developed into a retirement facility. In 1991, as Minister of Highfields Baptist Church, Rev West was enlisted to be part of a steering committee to oversee the new use for the land, bequeathed to the Baptist Union of Queensland.

Rev West is now celebrating 35 years service with Carinity, formerly known as Queensland Baptist Care, which operates Brownesholme, which he has managed since it opened in 1995.

“It’s been a privilege to serve the Lord and the Church,” said Rev West.

“It’s not always been easy being the Manager and Chaplain but I have a good relationship with the people I work with.”

Originally from Warwick, Rev West has always lived on the Darling Downs, bar a short period spent studying in Sydney. He has a long relationship with the Highfields district through his work with the Baptist ministry, starting as a student pastor in the town in 1982.

“When I first came to Highfields it only had a service station and a corner store that doubled as the post office. There was no mail delivery but you could collect mail.

“Highfields was a very small farming community and the Brownesholme property was just a grass paddock with agistment by a neighbour. Highfields is now a large sleeping dormitory to Toowoomba, a leafy community set on the edge of the Great Dividing Range. Its growth has been exponential.”

Carinity Brownesholme, currently home to 82 residents living in 61 independent living units, is also growing.

Rev West says Carinity plans to build a 96 suite residential aged care community on the site as part of its model for integrated seniors living. Eventually Carinity will also offer home care to enable local people to live independently and longer in their homes and community.

Carinity CEO Jon Campbell says Rev West embodies the qualities that are at the heart of Carinity’s work in communities across Queensland.

“Carinity aims to create loving and caring communities and make a real difference in the lives of the people,” said Jon.

“Rev West has been not only a loyal servant to Carinity but also to God. We congratulate and thank him for 35 years of dedication to Carinity and the staff and residents of Brownesholme.

“We welcome his commitment to and passion for the Brownesholme and Highfields communities and the positive difference it makes in our residents’ lives.”

Readers may also be interested in this article on the Fairholme College Centenary.