In 1950, Patty was the only female Committee member of the Society aged 17. Patty continued her involvement in a period spanning over sixty years. Activities included working in the Deaf club café on Friday nights, doing the spring cleaning, promoting female causes in the Deaf Women’s group and being involved in sporting committees under the Society and the NZ Deaf Sports Association including Women’s Basketball, Badminton and Tenpin bowling.
In her book, Dugdale (2007) explains that Patty represented the Society in the 1980 Advisory Council for the Community Welfare of Disabled Persons, the only deaf person among 20 professionals. There was no interpreter. Patty supported the Council with their report on Deaf needs. The Council wanted to call the report ‘Deaf and Deprived.’ Patty suggested a better title ‘Deafness, the invisible handicap.’ This became the NZAD slogan for the next few years.
Patty was also Editor of the Canterbury Deaf Society monthly newsletter on and off from 1975-2009. Patty’s first attempt to make a newsletter was using a printer with black powder. At the end of the task she remembers Jo Smith (nee Hussey) and herself looking like coalminers because they got more powder on them than paper! By 2009, the DEAF CANterbury News was a 36 page booklet and Patty trained many Deaf newsletter teams in the skills needed to produce the newsletter.
Patty resides in Christchurch, and is great-grandmother to two boys.