Neville and Marlene Foster have long been a part of the Saint Peter’s family, and have been instrumental in that time, welcoming others to it, also. Neville and Marlene were not always Maitland locals however, growing up close to each other in Mount Rivers and Martin’s Creek.
Neville, mostly living with his mother with his father often working away lived until the age of 10 in Mount Rivers, near Lostock, where he attended the local school, which had only 15 students. Following this, his family moved to Vacy, where they became members of the local Church, his mother serving as the organist there for many years.
At the ripe old age of 16 and a half, Neville has spent the majority of his working life in the railways. He began as a junior in Paterson, and worked his way through the grades, until making himself redundant in 2000 after 40-odd years of service.
Marlene grew up not too far away, in Martin’s Creek, with her parents and two brothers, and served in the local Parish Church, teaching Sunday School for many years. Her family also had a connection to the railways, with Marlene’s father working on them – often travelling anywhere between Queensland and Wangi. In her younger years, she would travel with her father, sleeping in tents alongside the railway!
Neville’s and Marlene’s families were close as they grew up, their fathers would go fishing together, and both families went to Harrington as their holiday destination. It wasn’t until they both started attending fellowship at the Paterson Parish Church that they began to realise that they could see a future with each other. The were married at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Maitland not too long afterward, before moving into their home in Tenambit, where they still live to this day.
They were blessed with two children, Hope, and Arnold, although, when Arnold came along, it meant that this little family had a difficult journey to go on. When Arnold was born, a mistake during delivery meant that from the age of 3 weeks he needed frequent medical attention, and required five operations on his brain in his first 7 years of life. He has since been able to lead a normal life.
Together, Neville and Marlene have five grandchildren, and get to see them regularly. Every Friday night, they have a family dinner, with Marlene cooking for anywhere up to 13 people present! Cooking is a passion of Marlene’s. She cooks on a voluntary basis for the Maitland International Photography Society, and cooks for many different Church events, such as the Saint Peter’s Catering, Rotary Catering, and the Men’s Fellowships dinners. Though she has now retired, she can still be seen helping out whenever needed!
Neville serves Saint Peter’s Church as our Parish Photographer and is often seen around the Church, taking beautiful photographs of special events. Neville’s love of photography began at an early age, with his first camera at the end of primary school – a ‘box brownie’. He says that his love of photography grew naturally, and since this time, he has been a member of the Australian Photographic Society for over 40 years and has attained life membership. Neville served as President of the Society from 1998 to 2000.
Neville has won many awards, and has been recognised in many ways, including being named a Grand Master of the Australian Photographic Society, a five star from the PSA in January this year, a bronze Award of Excellence from the International Federation of Photographic Art, and was recently awarded the Salon Silver medal from Montenegro for his photograph “Cisticola Calling” which was featured on the cover of the Cross and Keys newsletter in March 2017.