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Health is entering its
34th year. Ian Scott,
of the Rotary Club of
Mornington, Vic, was
the founder, and was
greatly assisted by
many Rotarians to get
this proud Australian
charity off the ground.
Ian went on to serve
as a director from 1982 to 1989.
The first chairman from 1982 to
1987 was Royce Abbey. Royce resigned
as chairman when he was elected as
president of Rotary International in 1988.
On the first board, Geoff Betts, of the
Rotary Club of Geelong, Vic, served as
vice-chairman from 1983 to 1988, then
as the chairman from 1988 to 1991.
Sadly, Geoff passed away in February.
This year we have also lost Frank
McDonald, who was a former treasurer
and director from 1983 to 1990.
In 2000, Geoff Bailey, of the Rotary
Club of Mitcham, SA, introduced the
Indigenous Health Scholarship program
to Australian Rotary Health. During the
ensuing years the program has spread
Australia-wide and now sponsors almost
100 Indigenous Health Scholars each
year. Geoff sadly passed away in March.
We have lost many of our Australian
Rotary Health founders in recent
years, but what a great legacy these
wonderful, innovative Rotarians have
left. Health research, training, education
and awareness, investing well over $2
million each year to improve the health of
What began through the efforts of some
special Rotarians as a small charitable
fund, established by Rotary in Australia
to find the causes of cot death, in which
there was great success, has developed
into one of the largest non-government
funders of mental health and illness
research benefitting the world.
If you are in need of counselling, contact
the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659
467 or LifeLine on 13 11 14 (Aus), 0800
543 354 (NZ) or visit www.lifeline.co.nz.
Gosford Rotary reducing
youth suicide on the
In 2011 the Rotary Club of Gosford North, NSW,
initiated the Central Coast Young Champions
Awards to acknowledge the achievements
of the local youth. The success of the event
stimulated the club to establish a bold new
project called Save Our Kids, or SOKS. Led
by club members Lester Pearson and Warren
Mills, over $17,000 was raised to fund the new
project, with hundreds of Central Coast youth
gaining benefits over the following four years.
Initially, the aim was to reduce the incidence
of youth suicide on the Central Coast. The club searched for a support organisation
with similar values to Rotary and found that Lifeline had a program honing in
on Year 11 students, their parents and school staff. The object was to teach
them how to identify and approach people they believed could be contemplating
suicide or be depressed. The Rotary Board formed a partnership with Lifeline and
donated $15,000 to fund the program for the first year.
The club was excited with the great direct benefits to our youth and set about
creating a source of annual, hopefully long-term, funding. “The Benefactors
Club” of donors was established.
High praise by beneficiaries and the increasing benefactor support has resulted
in the Youth Suicide Prevention Lifeline program being offered to most Year 11
Central Coast high school students. It is believed the program saved 18 lives in
2013, 39 lives last year, and greatly assisted many other kids and parents. SOKS
funding of $26,000 has been allocated to the program this year.
Rotary recently hosted a Gala Thank You Dinner for the benefactors that
helped Rotary fund the project, including Gosford RSL, Ettalong Diggers, Mingara
Recreation Club, Wyong Leagues Club, Wyong RSL, Bay Sports Club, Gwandalan
Bowling Club, Palmdale group, Dorothy Gowlland, John and Catherine Taylor
and Karen McNamara.
The Rotary Club of Gosford North is seeking additional benefactors so
they can expand the project. For more information email Lester Pearson at
firstname.lastname@example.org or Warren Mills at email@example.com.
Some of the benefactors and beneficiaries of the Save Our Kids initiative.
“It is believed
saved 18 lives
in 2013, 39 lives
last year, and
many other kids
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