New blood ready to mix it up

Rotarians from across Victoria joined at the weekend to celebrate their hard work and the changeover of district leaders.

Traralgon Rotarian of 15 years, Charlie Speirs received the honour of District Governor of District 9820, which covers from Orbost to Sorrento, including Dandenong and encompasses 49 clubs.

“I hope to bring leadership, encouragement of Rotary groups to be a bit more friendly and a bit more open to the public,” Mr Speirs said.

“Membership is an issue in service clubs, people are too busy or don’t feel they like formality.”

On the day, Mr Speirs termed Rotary as stereotypically old, pale, stale and frail and stressed the organisation needed new blood.

“I’d like to help people understand what Rotary does, how we do it, why we do it and that we’re not just a club for ageing men,” Mr Speirs said.

Elected as Traralgon Rotary Club president on Tuesday evening, Ron Elliott said he was honoured Mr Speirs was selected as district governor.

“The club as a whole is looking forward to an exciting year of supporting Charlie as district governor,” Mr Elliott said.

“That’s a very busy job being district governor so (supporting him) will be a key element in my role as well.”

Mr Elliott said six Paul Harris fellow awards were also presented on Tuesday evening to five current and one deceased member of the club.

Brian Lythgo, Trish Lythgo, Ian Draper and John Cop (dec) received the award for their service to Rotary projects in the Solomon Islands, while Chris O’Brien and Philip Marsh received the award for general services to the organisation.

Mr Cop’s family were present at the Tuesday night meeting to receive the award on his behalf.

“John received the award for his commitment and his work establishing a medical clinic in Ta’ba,” Mr Elliott said.

“He was one of the Rotarians who, in a sense, was involved in the establishment of the project.”

Mr Elliott said while he had a lot to live up to in his new role as president, he looked forward to the challenge.