Polly had been a member of Hawkes Bay Naturist Club for several years, previously to that a member of Wellington Naturist Club and many of us had met her at recent rallies in the North Island.
Some who had the chance to meet Polly, knew of her tragic past and that she understandably continued to suffer the effects of a person who had gone through so much trauma.
Some days Polly came across as a strong self-assured and spiritual lady who selflessly gave of herself in the healing of other people's physical and emotional pain. Other days, Polly hid under a grey curtain and couldn't be reached, being herself in need of healing from such great physical and emotional pain.
Sadly for us, Polly decided to leave her struggles here on earth and she took her own life.
I have written previously about our efforts to support and partner with the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand in order to reach members of their community and share with them the benefits that can be found through naturism and getting close to nature.
From the role that vitamin D exposure plays in the relief of depression, the feeling of freedom and grounding found by walking with bare feet on the grass in the fresh air, to the experience of acceptance and respect that can be found within our community.
Polly had a wide range of groups and communities that she was involved with but her father, Russell Fairbrother QC, described Rapere (HBNC) as "the one place that she felt some peace".
If our efforts with the MHFNZ are in any way successful, we need to ensure our clubs are havens for all people. Places where every person, with all the diversity that they represent, are accepted. And acceptance sometimes means not taking offence or um-bridge when someone, who is under a grey curtain, isn't able to be in turn responsive. Many of our own members have "good and bad days". We don't necessarily know every circumstance that has brought a person to where they are today so we need to be kind and supportive to all. Every day.
Polly was totally focused on sharing the message of health and well-being and while she was unable to continue her own fight, this doesn’t change the essence that tangible benefits and healing can be found through naturism and getting close to nature.
Polly's passing has left a big hole in our community, and we need to carry on her legacy of caring for others and giving, even from our own lack of having. And while we are at it, we do need to care for and attend to our own acceptance and healing. In doing this, we can truly live in accordance with the naturist philosophy: "Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature characterised by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment".