Vale: Philanthropist, activist and journalist Anne Coombs

January 10, 2022

It is with great sadness that those of us in the Asylum Seekers Centre community mark the death of Anne Coombs.

Anne has left a long-lasting contribution to the Asylum Seekers Centre as a philanthropist and activist. Anne and her partner Susan Varga established the Becher Foundation and generously assisted us to purchase our building in Newtown which has been the ASC’s home since 2013.

A couple of women hold hands and smile - they are standing in front of an Asylum Seekers Centre sign and logo.
Anne Coombs (L) and Susan Varga (R) at the opening of Becher House in August 2013.

As a co-founder of Rural Australians for Refugees and a board member of GetUp! Anne was a social change advocate for the issues that were close to her heart.

“Anne and Susan’s shared passion has always been for a fairer Australia for people seeking asylum and refugees,” says CEO Frances Rush. “Anne imagined a community where people would be welcomed and recognised for the rich contribution they could make to our country.

“Anne and Susan’s support of the ASC has always been in the belief that practical support is vital to people while they wait for their claim for protection to be processed. Getting the help that they need at the right time makes all the difference to people thriving in our community.”

Anne also made a considerable career as a journalist and was the author of five books, as well as being passionately interested in sustainable energy and animal rights.

Our thoughts are with Anne’s partner Susan, their family and friends in their grief.

“On behalf of the ASC community, I want to express our immense gratitude for all that Anne has done for the refugee and asylum seeker community. She will always be remembered.”

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