Our Patrons

Richard Marles MP

Honorary Patron of the Melanie Jewson Foundation

Richard Marles MP is the Shadow Minister for Defence and the Federal Member for Corio.

Richard’s previous appointments include Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Minister of Trade, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry, and Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Affairs.

Born in 1967, Richard was raised and educated in Geelong and went on to study Law and Science, achieving a LLB (Hons) and a BSc from the University of Melbourne. He is a devoted Geelong Cats supporter, golf fanatic and local history enthusiast. He lives in Geelong with his wife Rachel and has four children, Sam, Isabella, Harvey and Georgia.

As the federal representative of the people of Geelong and with an abiding interest in Pacific affairs, Richard Marles and the Melanie Jewson Foundation are an excellent fit. About the MJF, Richard says this –

From great tragedy the Jewson family were determined to make something good come from great sadness. The Melanie Jewson Foundation is an inspiration for many and I am honoured that Libby and Gary have shared their story and allowed me to share their special labour of love. I am proud to be a Patron of the Melanie Jewson Foundation.

Martin Sheen

Honorary Patron of the Melanie Jewson Foundation
Gary and Elizabeth with Martin Sheen in The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela - November 2009

Celebrated actor Martin Sheen is an Honorary Patron of the Melanie Jewson Foundation. Known for his work in Apocalypse Now (1979), Gandhi (1982), Badlands (1973) and as President Josiah Bartlet in the television series The West Wing (1999-2006), Martin has appeared consistently across stage, film and television for almost sixty years.

It was when Martin was shooting the film The Way in Spain in late 2009 that his connection with the Jewson family began. Martin plays an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his son (Martin’s real-life son Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, known in English as The Way of Saint James. You can read more about the film here.

Gary & Elizabeth Jewson walked the Camino in 2009 and were fortunate enough to meet Martin Sheen while he was filming in the city of Santiago. Empathetic and generous with his time, he listened closely as they shared with him an account of their own journey after the death of their daughter Melanie. Touched by their story, when Martin returned home to the US he organised a memorial mass for Melanie at his church in California. Martin has continued to communicate with Gary & Elizabeth and is honoured to have been asked to be an Honorary Patron of The Melanie Jewson Foundation.