Rotary gave out free children's books at their latest book sale to improve childhood literacy.
Rotary gave out free children's books at their latest book sale to improve childhood literacy. Debrah Novak

Maclean Rotary Club needs your help to help others

FROM markets, go kart races, sporting events, book fairs and antiques shows, there are a lot of community events hosted by service clubs like Rotary and Lions, or held to raise money for them.

It is well known those funds are used for causes both at home and abroad.

Things like the cochlear implant and setting up eye camps in Nepal are just some of the causes service clubs are associated with abroad.

At home countless people have benefited from fundraising.

However, service clubs need more volunteers to continue their good work.

Maclean Rotary Club president Alan Weston said 10 years ago there were 49 members, now there were 33.

Mr Weston believed there were a range of factors that contributed to the decline in club membership.

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"A lot of people become grey nomads and go travelling," he said.

"Some are getting old and cannot continue for health reasons. Four of our members are over 80."

Mr Weston was not always a Rotarian.

He said he started as a Charters Towers Lion at age 18 and remembers his first project was building a Girl Guides hut.

"That was terrific. It's still in use now," he said.

"Service clubs do a lot, but people don't realise it."

Mr Weston said the helicopter landing pad at Maclean hospital was one of their projects.

Maclean Lions Club member Laurie Fitzpatrick said looking at his club it seemed like a whole generation of people was skipped.

"People don't appear to have the time to do anything else," Mr Fitzpatrick said. "They are running around with kids and careers.

"Over the last 20 years I've seen the average age of my service club rise.

"I'm 64 years old and I'm youngish in my Lions club, which is crazy."

However, he said when he joined an APEX club at age 24, he was just as busy.

"I seemed to be able to do it when I was working full time as a bank manager and as my wife raised four kids," he said.

As a bank manager he was moved around the country every few years.

He said Lions helped him meet people when he came to a new community.

"Officially we have 14 members," he said." But we could use 20 more."

Lions Australia executive officer Rob Oerlemans said there were about 30,000 Lions, Leos and Lioness members across Australia.

There are about 31,000 Rotarians Australia-wide.

However, he said nationally Lions membership had remained stable. Every year they received 4000 members, but at the same time 4000 would leave.

"Our peak was in the mid '90s. It was 35,000," Mr Oerlemans said.

"There is a whole lot more choice how people can spend their time now."



JOINING a services club is not only a great benefit to the community, it also has many positive implications for the individual.

Services clubs are a great way to meet people and integrate into the area.

They are a way to give back to your community.

Service clubs have contributed to countless local projects.

For more information phone these numbers.

Grafton Rotary Club 0488 999 640

Grafton Midday Rotary Club 0429 930 221

Maclean Rotary Club 0447 330 770

Yamba Rotary Club 0404 476 702

Grafton Lions Club

Grafton Big River Lions Club

Yamba Lions Club 6646 3060

Maclean Lions Club 0412 034 245

For more information go to or

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