What do a pharmacist, architect, school principal, anaesthetist, barber, and dental technician have in common? They are all proud members of the Rotary Club of Armidale and recently, they celebrated 250 years of combined membership of the club and service to the community. Here they talk with Focus about what it means to be a Rotarian and what Rotary in Armidale has given to the community over the years.
Tell us why you all joined Rotary:
Dennes Fayle [celebrating 50 years of Rotary membership this year]:
I joined Rotary because my father was in Rotary, and he thought I would enjoy it and be a good Rotarian. I had been in Apex for 20 years and thought it would be a natural progression to continue to serve the community through Rotary. My father, uncle and brother were all District Governors of Rotary, and two of my sons and a daughter-in-law are also in Rotary, and we have all been Presidents of our Clubs. So it really is a tradition in the Fayle family, and one I am very proud of.
Tony Deakin [40 years of Rotary membership this year]:
I believed it would be a good opportunity to be involved in all sorts of activities in Armidale, as I had come to live here only two years before.
Neil Adamson [over 40 years of Rotary membership]:
After being told about the very fine projects of Rotary, I became interested in helping both locally and internationally and first joined Rotary in Gulgong in 1972, then joined Armidale when I came here. Being a member of Rotary was and still is a great way of meeting people from various occupations and with varied interests in a small town.
Jim Harding [40 years of Rotary membership this year]:
I joined Rotary to get some social contact with men other than those in the medical community and it also gave me an introduction to the local community at a time when community service was regarded as the norm.
Roy Cowley [40 years of Rotary membership this year]:
I joined in 1975, because I was impressed by the contributions to the community I had seen made by the club’s members with their time and money, both locally and internationally, to those less fortunate.
Jim Edwards [over 40 years of Rotary membership]:
I was a member of Apex, but one of their rules was that when you reached 40, you had to retire from Apex. I was flattered to be invited to join Rotary, where I had some friends, and I joined willingly because I enjoyed service work and the company of people with similar ideals.
What have been some highlights for you as Rotarians personally and for the club?
Dennes: Being President of the club, as well as just the companionship I have enjoyed over the years. Highlights for the club have included making Rotary Park and landscaping Walker House.
Tony: The major renovation job we did for the hospital on Tanna Island in Vanuatu, and the design and construction of the new library at the Khao Talu School in Southern Thailand, together with the landscaping work at Walker House and the BackTrack Workshop in Armidale all confirm Rotary’s ideal of community service worldwide.
Neil: On a personal level, highlights include being President of the club and serving as District Governor. On an international level, I have been very involved with Rotary Literacy programmes and am Rotary’s General Literacy Coordinator worldwide. Our club has been involved in so many projects over the past 40 years, but some which stand out for me are working with other Rotary Clubs in Armidale to purchase a Paul Harris Bell for St Peter’s Cathedral and the club’s involvement in the Sustainable Living Expo (SLEX), which was designed to highlight the issue of sustainability in the community.
Jim H: Being President of the club as it prospered, while other service clubs seemed to disappear.
Roy: Rotary has achieved many things, from the eradication of Polio worldwide, helping local charities, and many things in-between.
Jim E: Hosting students from overseas under Rotary’s Youth Exchange Scheme has been a highlight. I have really enjoyed the physical work involved with building projects such as the arboretum, Rotary Park, and the picnic facilities at Dumaresq Dam. Personal highlights include my year as President and the fuss made by members for my 80th birthday!
Why do you continue to be in Rotary, and why should young people consider joining?
Dennes: I enjoy the meetings and helping with projects where possible. I can’t do much physically anymore, but can sometimes help in other ways. I always enjoy the guest speakers and the company. You’re never too old to learn something new or to help someone in the community.
Tony: I continue to be involved, largely because of the fellowship I have enjoyed over the last 40 years and continue to enjoy. I also enjoy taking part in Rotary’s community work.
Neil: To me, Rotarians are dedicated people with a passion for both community service and friendships, and I enjoy being a part of this organisation.
Jim H: The club is a friendly place, and I enjoy the friendships I have made over the years.
Roy: I get great joy and satisfaction from the achievements of getting the job done and the fellowship and friendship that goes with it. I intend to remain a Rotary member whilst I am still able to make a contribution, whatever that may be.
Jim E: I continue to be involved in Rotary because of the genuine friendships of members and the weekly meetings with old and new members. I have a fairly long history in service clubs – Apex, Rotary and Lifesaving, and I’m proud of the work all service clubs do in their communities.