Honours for Parkes Rotarians at annual changeover dinner

Parkes Rotary Club managed to conduct their Changeover Dinner at the Astro Dish Motel with a reduced number of members and guests present in accordance with spacing principles for Covid 19.

However, it was far from being a less interesting evening as the club has achieved quite a few distinguished awards during the past year.

The MC for the evening was Steven Campbell and he welcomed special guests Mayor Ken Keith OAM, Immediate Past District Governor John McKenzie, David Acheson (welcome to country) and Eileen Newport.

Club president Donald Chisholm sadly passed away in March but not before he conspired with board members to have his awards presented at Changeover in the usual way. And so it was that the Arthur Roeder Award for Club Rotarian of the Year was presented to John Short for among other things, his sterling work as treasurer.

No one was more surprised than David Hughes when acting president Peter Thompson announced that Donald had selected him to receive a Paul Harris Sapphire Award and equally as surprised was Paul Hocking when he was presented with his Paul Harris Award.

Peter gave an outgoing president's report and said that the club had many great achievements over the past year despite the severe disruption with the Coronavirus.

However the club did keep going with Zoom meetings each week which helped to keep some consistency and communication. His report was responded to by Mayor Ken Keith OAM who always has nice things to say about Parkes Rotary.

Past Governor John McKenzie announced District Awards and Parkes Club was presented with the Alf Gillespie Community Service Award for the club's work during the drought.

Not only that but Past President Jenny Jewel was presented with the District Rotarian of the Year Award for her work during the drought and coordinating support from other Rotary clubs during the Adopt-a-Town Program.

These are two of the most prestigious Rotary District 9700 Annual Awards and is a great credit to the members and especially Jenny.

John McKenzie then inducted Mark Ritchie as club president for 2020-21.

"My focus in the coming year would be to continue support for the PCYC, Rotary Youth Programs such as RYPEN, RYLA and NYSF, and to also do what we can to pay back the Rotary clubs on the south coast affected by last year's bush fires and who were very active in our area during the drought," Mark said in his address.

"As president I get to make Paul Harris Awards and I am going to start early and posthumously award one to the late Donald Chisholm whose achievements over his lifetime were astonishing and this award is our way of saying thank you to a wonderful man."

In emotional scenes, the award was presented to Donald's widow Valerie.

The club pays US$1000 to the Rotary Foundation (Rotary's worldwide charity) for each Paul Harris Award.

Valerie responded and thanked Mark for this consideration in Donald's memory.

What a way to end the evening!