In 1961 Arthur Crabtree, the founder of St. Gabriel’s and a group of Limerick business people recognised what few if any services were available at that time in Limerick to support families of children with disabilities.
Having come together out of concern to try to bring about change, they set up the Limerick Children’s Handicapped Association, a non-residential treatment centre in St. Joseph’s Street, Limerick. This was the early days of what was later to become known as St. Gabriel’s School & Centre.
After Arthur’s death, Wyn Crabtree, Arthur’s daughter carried on the outstanding work started by her father. Over time and with the support of her voluntary committee, chaired by Dr. Billy Cahill, Medical Director. Their determination and commitment to have a special needs school for children with disabilities established in Limerick eventually paid off and a new green-field site in Dooradoyle was purchased. This marked a new era children when a school and centre for children with special needs was officially opened in 1997 by the then Minister, Michael Noonan, T.D.
Sadly, Wyn passed away in March 2009 at the age of 94 however the dedication she displayed throughout her life’s work is still evident in St. Gabriel’s today.