Illness doesn’t hold Roland back

Roland Hudson-Bennett standing by a self portrait painted by R Kruger when he retired from the Castle of Good Hope board.

Roland Hudson-Bennett has battled Crohn’s disease for more than 30 years, but it hasn’t slowed him down or stopped him doing what he does best -helping others.

The 76-year-old retired char-
tered accountant lives in Rondebosch but grew up in Durban, where he did his schooling, and spent five years in Port Elizabeth before settling in Cape Town from 1982.

He worked for KPMG for 27 years and was an executive member on the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 1985 until 2002, but it’s his three-decades-worth of community work that he is probably best known for.

He has helped others with Crohn’s – a chronic inflammatory disorder that sees the body’s immune system attack the gastrointestinal tract – through a support group and newsletters offering advice on how to management the condition. He has been on the boards of various organisations, including the South African Crohn’s Disease Association; Sunfield Homes for Mentally Handicapped; the National Council of YMCA in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape; Ons Plek Projects Committee and St Luke’s Hospice.

He also served on the board of the Castle of Good Hope from 1995 until 2011. And despite having to go for dialysis three times a week, he still serves as the treasurer for Ons Plek, an NGO helping young girls escape life on the streets.

His work in the community has not gone unnoticed, as he received a KPMG Special Award for a Lifetime of Community Involvement in 2004, and, as recently as April this year, he received the St Michael Award from Michaelhouse school in KwaZulu-Natal. It’s given to a living old boy who has shown humility, generosity, courage, compassion and a willingness to fight for truth and justice.

Michaelhouse rector Paul Fleischack gave him the award alongwithaspecialmes-

“Roland’s humility, generosity of spirit, dedication and tenacity have led to success in all facets of his life, and thus, he is a worthy recipient of the St Michael Award,” said Mr Fleischack.

Mr Hudson-Bennett is married to Shirley, 72, and the couple have two children, Craig, 44, and Shaun, 42, as well as five grandchildren.

Asked what had made him get so involved in community work over the years, he said: “I did it because I like to see people happy. I really enjoy what I do, and it gives me a great deal of satisfaction.”