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15 November 2023
By Sean O’Connell
A well-known service organisation has marked 95 years in Horsham.
Rotary Club of Horsham celebrated its almost century-long history on Friday, with more than 40 people coming together to acknowledge the contributions of the club and its members throughout the years.
Secretary and former president Neil King said the club had not strayed far from the original aims of the organisation, when Rotary was founded in Chicago in 1905.
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“It is a group of individuals who seek to develop themselves personally and do good in their local community,” he said.
“Horsham’s first members met on October 5, 1928 at a café – later called the Red Cherry Café. On November 4, 1928, the club was chartered,” he said.
Colin and Loloma Puls are longstanding members and have both taken on leadership roles.
Mr Puls become a member 40 years ago, in 1983.
He said the group set out to address community needs and did not always need to wait for someone to reach out to ask for help.
He gave the example of a five-bedroom house members built near the hospital, to accommodate people who may have a loved-one in medical care.
“In that particular case, one of our members had an idea that people coming a long distance to visit the hospital, or who had family in hospital, had nowhere to stay,” he said.
“Meals on Wheels, which Rotary started in Horsham, was an obvious one. It was for older people living on their own who weren’t able to look after themselves.”
Mrs Puls, who was the first female president of the club, said the organisation had achieved a lot, both locally and abroad.
“The big swimming complex in Horsham we have now, a lot of the Rotarians dug the outdoor pool,” she said.
“The Laurie Rudolph Walk that is down along the river, that was all Rotary.
“In 1970, as part of a river beautification project, members filled in brickworks along the river near where the Soundshell is now.”
Mrs Puls said it was the global reach of Rotary that prompted her to join, after attending the World Convention of Rotary in Brisbane in 2003.
She has visited India seven times, helping distribute polio vaccinations on five of those occasions.
“We were home-hosted by Rotarians, so we’ve been invited back to the weddings of their daughters. I’ve now been to three Indian weddings,” Mrs Puls said.
“I went to Africa, too, to the school of St Jude, which is in Tanzania, started by a girl from Tamworth in NSW.
“The club sponsored a child to go to the school and Colin and I personally sponsored one.
“Two years ago, we were married 60 years and our daughter put a picture on Facebook of the pair of us. Riziki Fred, who we had sponsored, saw us on Facebook and was so excited.
“He had been trying to get in touch with me for a long time and he’s done tertiary qualifications, all because Rotary sponsored him.
“He was only a little kid when I visited and I took him a patchwork rug.”
Mr King said Rotary Club of Horsham had 29 active members, including six women, with four new members joining in the new year.
He said the club hosted meetings fortnightly from 6pm and people wanting more information about joining could email email@example.com
The entire November 15, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!