This month we join André Coetzer and Alick Kausipa in celebrating their birthdays. Alick and André, both maestros in the Riverside gardening and outside maintenance team, have, between them, served on the Riverside staff for 14 years. They have learnt much, and given much, in those years, making valuable contributions to our beautiful gardens and the never-ending cycle of outdoor repair work.

So, happy birthday guys, and may you continue to be part of our team for many years.

This brings us to another topic – the importance of celebrating staff birthdays. We know of many places where birthdays come and go, without fuss and bother. There’s work to be done, the show must go on, there’s no time for warm and fuzzy stuff like birthdays, will be a mantra in these workplaces.

But pause, for a second. Are there not any parallels between the workforce of a business and a family? The duty to support, encourage those who are struggling, give advice, lift up those who have fallen down – these, ideally, should exist in the family and business context. The words “can I help you” or “well done” or “this is tough, but it will be easier if we all do it together” – should they not be heard, often, in the work and family circle?

If the answer is yes, then we should sincerely celebrate things like staff birthdays and other big occasions. Birthdays are the occasion for saying, “thank you for being part of us”, and “looking forward to good times ahead”. So, André and Alick, when we say to both of you happy birthday, the words mean much more than you think.