HORSHAM Rotary Club has celebrated nine decades of service this week.
The club was formed in 1928 and over the years, its members have been involved in a long list of projects that has improved the quality of life for many people in Horsham and beyond.
Some notable projects were establishing a Meals on Wheels service in Horsham, supporting the Horsham Aquatic Centre’s memorial swimming pool and building Rotary House near the Wimmera Base Hospital.
Former Horsham Rotary Club president and active member John Evans said a “passion for the community” has motivated Horsham Rotarians for nine decades.
“It is the passion of the members that motivates this club. We all want to be involved in and support our own community as well as people overseas,” he said.
The club is well-known for its fundraising efforts and providing services to the community, but they also have a strong focus on the younger generation.
“We have been big on our youth programs, we hardly miss having an exchange student going in and out. So we are very supportive of our youth having this experience,” he said. “We also sponsor the Max Taylor and Andy Wood Music Awards each year to help budding musicians play before an audience and the winner is given a prize to support their musical endeavours.
“We send students to a National Youth Science Forum to inspire aspiring scientists and we run a photographic competition between the schools as well.”
Rotary, however, is not just about serving one’s community. They also have aspirations to make the world a better place.
“Rotary has been a prime mover of ridding the world of the polio virus. There’s only about three countries affected by polio and that’s largely due to the distribution of vaccines,” Mr Evans said. “Rotary clubs across the world including our group were huge financial supporters of that.”
He said many Horsham people had a “rewarding experience” taking the polio vaccine to children in India.
“You get more out of it than what you put in,” he said. “To contribute to both local and international projects, the polio vaccines, sending books overseas or fundraising for our own town – it’s very rewarding.”
Mr Evans said the all men’s club had a breathe of “new life” when women were invited to join. He said this had definitely changed the dynamics and gave Rotary a much-needed “boost”. The club, however, has grown smaller in recent years.
“Rotary clubs and other clubs in general are struggling to get their numbers because of changes in lifestyle and conflicting interests and needs of families,” Mr Evans said. “But, we just keep doing what we do and people contribute to the best of their ability.”
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