WORK CONTINUES: Patrick O'leary is continuing Fred Hyde's legacy in Bangladesh, proving to the community that support is not lost with the death of Co-ID's founder Fred Hyde.
WORK CONTINUES: Patrick O'leary is continuing Fred Hyde's legacy in Bangladesh, proving to the community that support is not lost with the death of Co-ID's founder Fred Hyde. Patrick O'leary

LEGACY ALIVE: Warwick man builds on Hyde's amazing vision

WHEN Warwick legend Fred Hyde died in late 2016, families and children in Bangladesh feared an era of support had ended.

Living a "double life" between Warwick and Bhola Island, Mr Hyde channelled everything into building a network of schools that transformed the lives of thousands in poverty.

But just 17 months on from Mr Hyde's death, one Warwick man has proven no shoes are too big to at least try to fill.

With the mud still fresh on his boots, Patrick "Paddy" O'leary has just returned from remote Bangladesh, where he built three schools.

Hauling 10,000 bricks and timber over rivers and seas, and excavating the sites by hand, Mr O'leary proved without a doubt that Mr Hyde's legacy was not lost.

 

BUILDING UP: Constructing schools from scratch is no easy task without electricity or modern transportation, but the challenges are no match for Mr O'leary's practical attitude and compassionate heart.
BUILDING UP: Constructing schools from scratch is no easy task without electricity or modern transportation, but the challenges are no match for Mr O'leary's practical attitude and compassionate heart. Patrick O'leary

But with no modern machinery or transportation, to assist, Mr O'leary said constructing the schools could be a "logistical nightmare".

Tides, temperatures and weather all worked against the small team of builders.

"Even the timber there, the boys were unloading it until midnight by mobile phone torchlight off the boat onto the bank because of the tidal situation."

In just three months, Mr O'leary built three new schools, the first since Mr Hyde's death.

Co-operation In Development chairman Olav Muurlink said Mr O'leary's time in Bangladesh sent a message that Mr Hyde's vision would continue.

"Paddy's work is absolutely brilliant in incredibly trying conditions with no electricity, unpredictable weather, poor quality water and food," Mr Muurlink said.

 

LEGACY LIVES ON: Patrick O'leary knew Fred Hyde as the man with the mower shop. Now he is continuing the local legend's legacy in Bangladesh, proving to the community that support is not lost with the death of Co-Id's founder.
LEGACY LIVES ON: Patrick O'leary knew Fred Hyde as the man with the mower shop. Now he is continuing the local legend's legacy in Bangladesh, proving to the community that support is not lost with the death of Co-Id's founder. Patrick O'leary

"We breed them tough in Warwick and Paddy has shown that."

Mr O'leary has no building qualifications, just a passionate heart and a good pair of tin snips.

But he didn't build the schools alone.

Part of Co-ID's contribution to remote communities is employing local people as builders and teachers.

Between 48 schools, the organisation provides work for around 175 teachers and educates thousands of children.

Mr O'leary said 97 cents of each Australian dollar provided hit the ground in Bangladesh, through local wages, sourcing materials or buying resources for the schools.

Many of the children at Co-Id schools are the first in their family to receive an education.

 

SCHOOLING SUCCESS: Since it was founded, Cooperation In Development has education 120,000 people.
SCHOOLING SUCCESS: Since it was founded, Cooperation In Development has education 120,000 people. Patrick O'leary

The entire operation is funded by donations and run via committed volunteers such as Mr O'leary and Mr Hyde.

Growing up on a farm in Wheatvale, Mr O'leary was "inspired" by Mr Hyde's philanthropy from a young age.

"He was a local who was out there doing something completely different and so generous," he said.

Mr O'leary remembers going to Mr Hyde's mower shop in Warwick with his father as a young boy.

"I thought it was inspiring - what he was doing - and my interest increased from there."

Mr O'leary said memories of Mr Hyde were still alive and vibrant in the Bandgladesh communities he touched.

"I get approached by many people who knew Fred 30 years ago," he said.

"I have grandmothers and mothers coming up and thanking me for coming there because they know what it means to live a life without education."

Mr O'leary said the relationship Mr Hyde fostered with locals over decades has been the bedrock of success.

 

SOLID FOUNDATION: Fred Hyde's passion for helping educate remote communities in Bangladesh has left an impact that will last generations.
SOLID FOUNDATION: Fred Hyde's passion for helping educate remote communities in Bangladesh has left an impact that will last generations. Patrick O'leary

"Fred lived there with the community and set the organisation up on a very basic level. He earnt a lot of respect."

Mr Muurlink said he was pleased to see the great work continue.

"It is great for the community over there to realise that we are not just sitting on our hands and resting on Fred's good work, we are actually building on it."



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