The Rotary Club of
West Perth


Outgoing President Geoff Simpson's changeover address to the Club 

Rotarians, Partners and Friends of Rotary, Thank you all for attending. 
RI President Mark Daniel Maloney’s theme for 2019-20 was Rotary Connects the World. He asked Rotarians to strengthen the many ways that Rotary Connects the World, by building the connections that allow talented, thoughtful, and generous people to unite and take meaningful action through Rotary service.

Twelve months ago I suggested that in the coming year we look towards increasing our membership, increasing our personal involvement in new projects, increasing our social program, inclusive of our Rotary family and increasing the fun we have in doing it all.

Despite the intervention of COVID-19, we have managed to achieve quite a bit:
  • A successful water project in Vietnam – thanks John Tick
  • Continuing support of Life Education, including a reserve fund for when Bernie relaunches - we hope in the near future.
  • Continuing support to the Rotary Foundation and Polio Plus
  • A successful project next door for the School Garden, with thanks to Nigel for his persistence and leadership
  • Continuing support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • Sending Georgia Whisson to RYLA
  • Enabling the Young Boxing Women Project to expand in the Northern suburbs
  • Continuing the Spectacle collection program and incorporating Acacia Prison into the project – thanks Arthur 
  • Through Merc, continuing to support a number of other NGOs with equipment to be sent overseas – thanks Tina
  • Helping the establishment of the Claremont Men’s Shed – thanks John Holman
  • A great fundraising year through Swapmeet and an excellent quiz night – thanks Sandy; another successful Magic Show – thanks Tony; and some great Sergeants sessions kept the dollars flowing – thanks again John Holman.
  • Support for a hearing project in Thailand for the new born
  • A revamped and excellent Facebook page thanks to Sandy and Ant and our website thanks to Colin
  • A continuing succession of brilliant guest speakers – I notice our man from last week, immediately appeared on television. A great choice - thanks Pat Emery – a continuing source of amazement and preparing to start his 16th consecutive year as our speaker organiser – Well done.
  • An evening social at the Sports Club, a well-attended President’s at Home at Yunderup and a great Xmas special, rounded out the first half of the year.
  • Another great Guess who is coming to Dinner, again well organised by John Holman – just before Covid-19 closed us down.
Then we entered our ZOOM phase thanks to Colin  - and I personally feel it went well. We had good numbers each week and were able to welcome back some members we had not seen in some time. It also dragged a few members into the digital world for the first time. Today we have Ian Hutton joining us from Point Sampson and Stephen from his sick bed. 

So many thanks to you all for your contributions and a particular thank you to our Board members.
  • Geoff Woods departs the Board after 3 years and his second Presidency and I thank him for his guidance.
  • David Arrowsmith our every reliable secretary completed his 4th year of keeping us up to the mark – thank you sincerely David
  • Guy Mattioli leaves the Board after his 2nd Presidency and 4 years as treasurer – thank you sincerely for your efforts as well as your great endeavours with our social program. 
  • My thanks also go to Hayley Lethlean for her work in Membership engagement and her great Rotary Newsletters, together with her assistance to David with the Board minutes.
  • To Sandy Gray, a special thank you. As a fairly new member to the Club, she took on the challenge of fundraising as well as the challenge of motivating many of us to get behind her committee and make a success of our Swapmeet as well as driving our social media.
  • To Arthur Blaquiere – thanks for a job well done. 3 years as Community Service Director and I have lost count of how many years leading the spectacles recycling project.
  • To Tina Arthur many thanks for your enthusiastic efforts on international and your continuing drive with MERC. A very successful year with two great projects overseas – one completed and the other hopefully to be funded by a Global Grant.
  • Last but not least, Stephen Lee, he kept us on our toes this year and really made us engage and think, with his efforts on our Strategic Planning process. I am looking forward to working with him next year, though I am beginning to worry that he doesn’t like Changeovers – he missed last years and more importantly he missed this one. 
I first met Stephen in 1994, the year before I joined Rotary. My daughter had just returned from France after her 12 months Rotary Exchange and had become the Chair of ROTEX, and Stephen turned up at our house to attend one of their meetings as the Rotarian observer. Some 6 years later when I was President of our Club for the first time, he was on my Board as the International Director. The following year he left West Perth to become the Charter President of Western Endeavour. Margaret and I attended the Charter breakfast in the upper reaches of Subiaco Football Oval to witness the then RI President Richard King, induct the new members in to Rotary.
The following year we attended an evening dinner at the Rotary Club of Bigger in Scotland, where the newly inducted Sue and Stephen Lee were members. A very interesting evening as Sue was the first female member to breach their barricades. Finally, via the Middle East, Stephen came home to roost, and we all look forward to him assuming the presidential mantle in the ensuing weeks.

Some 20 years ago I had the pleasure of taking over from Geoff Woods as President for the first time. I inherited a club with a membership strength of 50. 12 months later when I passed the baton to Peter Dowling, we had grown to 55.

Like most service clubs, membership growth has become a problem. Today we find ourselves now a Club of only 32 active members. In the past 12 months we have shrunk by 4. Lindsey Silbert lost his passion early in the year and in the last month we have lost a further 3. Neil Gray has decided to move on to other fields – we hope to see him at functions as Sandy’s partner. 
Colin Arthur has decided to take on other endeavours and we thank him for his 20 year association with the Club – 50% as a partner and the balance as a member, including President in 2015-16, Community Service Director for 2 years and our webmaster for the last 4 years – thank you Colin and we hope to see you at our functions in the future.

Tina Arthur has sought to take a year’s break from Rotary. A member for 20 years, a Board member for 4 years, an excellent Bulletin editor for 5 years and our President in 2009-10. Leader of our MERC committee and a previous RYE host family, she has shown the true meaning of the family of Rotary. We hope you return soon.

Well that is my year. My great thanks to you all for your support. Many thanks to my wife Margaret for her support. The year has certainly had its highs and lows, with some challenges in between. I can but wish Stephen a smoother ride.

In his absence, I would like to introduce his incoming Board:
  • Our President Elect Hayley Lethlean
  • Our Secretary – David Arrowsmith
  • Our Treasurer – Dennis Hartley
  • And in our new Leader Positions
  • Community Wellness – Mally Rall
  • Community Engagement – PDG Angus Buchanan
  • Swapmeet – Tony Delich
  • Myself as the Past President and assisting Hayley
  • And our Continuing Programs Leader has yet to be filled.
Thanks again for your support!
Geoff Simpson 
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