Yamba Rotary honours 25 years of dedication

THERE were no romantic tables for two at the Yamba Bowling Club on Valentine's Day.

The venue was taken over by past and present members of the Yamba Rotary Club celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The special occasion brought together a host of past presidents, members and their families.

It also provided the opportunity for a special reunion of the club's inaugural charter president Kevin Hassey, secretary Gordon Gray and treasurer Joe Hewitt.

“It's a great opportunity to catch up with old friends,” Mr Hassey said.

Mr Hassey has been a Rotary member for almost 40 years, 25 of which have been with the Yamba club.

Because the club meets once a week, Mr Hassey said members had become like a second family to him and he remembered the early years fondly.

“Most of the club was made up of self-employed people who were very interested in Yamba and in developing things that we needed,” he said.

“Not only did we do that, but we also had a hell of a lot of fun.”

One significant difference between the club in 1983 and now was the introduction of female members.

“It was a men's-only club for a long time,” Mr Hassey said.

But the club has welcomed, in its 25th year, its first woman president, Yannick Martin.

“We need to be able to continually demonstrate how Rotary can adapt and change with the times and be a club that isn't afraid to promote itself in our modern and busy society,” Ms Martin said.

She hoped her position as the first female president would encourage more women to join and seek leadership roles.

Since its inception, the club has served the Yamba community and abroad wholeheartedly. It has given more than $200,000 to various organisations in the region and around $30,000 to the Rotary Foundation, which helps scholarships and exchanges between countries.

Working teams have gone to the Kokoda Track and Fiji to help. The club is providing 'kits for kids' as well as books to help education internationally.

The club has also been instrumental in providing buildings and water supply to the Lukanga Upper basic school, aqua boxes for disaster zones, saved lives through its bowelscan program, been instrumental in having a Life Education Unit established in the Valley, provided playground shelters, barbecues, bus shelters, seating in the community and given awards to school children.

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