As featured in the The Perth Voice Interactive

87-YEAR-OLD Betty Smith has been collecting used stamps for charity for nearly 30 years, recently handing over a record 33kg box of them to help the needy.

The Inglewood resident is a familiar face at businesses in East Perth, the CBD, West Perth and Subiaco, as she goes stamp hunting twice a week.

“I don’t even have to ask,” she says.

After 27 years, all the office staff know her as the “stamp lady”.

As featured in the Guardian Express

MOST people look away from homeless people but a photographic exhibition that opens this month will encourage people to take notice, according to Perth photographer Phil England.

The Eye Contact project, initiated by the Rotary Clubs of Perth and Heirisson, features 20 portraits of homeless people in WA with a summary of their personal stories.

The portraits show the subjects looking directly at the viewer.

“Most people look the other way when they see homeless people in the street,” England said.

“Sadly, they believe the problem is intractable; an attitude that percolates through to State and Federal government policy.

As featured in the The West Australian

Tennis legend Margaret Court has returned serve to a Perth tennis club that turfed her out as a patron this week, saying she is being silenced for her views on same-sex marriage.

Despite being dumped by Cottesloe Tennis Club, Mrs Court remained defiant yesterday, accusing the LGBTQI community of wanting to “destroy marriage”.

Mrs Court said she was disappointed the tennis club had dumped her as vice-patron, saying the move was “politically motivated”.

“I think it’s sad. You don’t have the freedom of speech today to really defend yourself,” she said.

“It’s a sad day for our nation when it comes to that.

As featured in the Guardian Express

AN Anglican Reverend, a Rabbi and an Imam shared grace duties at today’s Rotary of Perth meeting titled ‘The Faith Healers’.

Soon after, the conversation turned to the threat of radicalisation of youth in Australia.

Reverend John Shepherd, Rabbi Dovid Freilich and Imam Feizel Chotiah were panel members for a Q & A on the threat to religion, lack of knowledge around faith and radicalisation.

Mr Chotiah said groups that radicalised youth in Australia and related funding came from overseas.

He said Australia was the safest country in the world when it came to terrorism threats because of the successful working relationship between the Australian Federal Police, ASIO and the Muslim community.

The three religious leaders agreed that education was the key to people understanding and accepting different faiths.

“People are afraid of what they don’t understand,” Mr Chotiah said.

“The sad fact of the matter is that most children are introduced to Muslim faith through the World Trade Centre towers exploding and that’s the unfortunate reality.

“Children aren’t born to hate.”

Imam Feizel said he was introduced to Christianity and Judaism through learning the “life of Christ” as a child in South Africa.

As featured in the Guardian Express

FORMER WA Governor Ken Michael presented a Paul Harris Fellowship award to Beechboro residents Thomas (12) and Thea Campbell (10) last month for their outstanding service to Rotary.

Along with parents Tristan and Blaine and grandmother Wendy, the youngest generation of Campbell's have raised more than $5000 a year for Rotary through their beekeeping business and other contributions.

“Rotary has always played a major part in our family,” Tristan, who is a co-director of the club’s Community Services Division, said.

The Campbells involvement with Rotary started in 1939 when Wendy’s grandfather, William Brine senior, became a very active member until he died in 1971.

“My grandfather was president during the war years which was a very tough time in Perth,” Wendy said.

As featured in the Guardian Express


THE community can this week learn more about the relocation of Passages Resource Centre from Northbridge to Highgate after 15 years.

The St Vincent de Paul Society and the Rotary Club of Perth will host an information night on July 20 from 6.30pm.

The centre provides vulnerable young people with practical assistance including food, clothing, a shower, clothes-washing facilities and computer access.

It also links them to other supports such as Centrelink, counselling, Street Doctor, education, training and accommodation, to help them transition off the street.

St Vincent de Paul Society’s state manager of homeless services Gayle Mitchell said a new site was needed to accommodate the changing needs of the service.

As featured in the Guardian Express

NEDLANDS is a long way from Senegal and Switzerland, but it has been the proud home suburb of Rotary exchange student Lea Renevey.

The 17-year-old student from Avry, a Swiss village with a population of less than 1900, has been living in Nedlands for almost a year.

Francois and Genevieve Renevey adopted Lea from a health post in Dakar, Senegal, when she was an infant.

Lea speaks French, German, English – and some Italian – and is an active member of the community in Avry as well as in Perth.

Back home, she is active in her village’s youth group and is studying hard to pursue her dreams.

Big congratulations to our very own Reverend John who was recently awarded an AM in the Australia Day Honours for significant service to the Anglican Church of Australia through senior liturgical roles and to the community.

A reminder of how blessed we are as a club to have members that truly make a difference on many levels.

Service Includes:

  • Dean, Anglican Diocese of Perth, 1990-2014
  • Priest, St Georges Cathedral, 1990 - 2014
  • Chair, Cathedral Restoration Task Force, 2000-2014
  • Chair, St Georges Cathedral Council for the Arts, 1996-2014
  • Founder, Centre for Spirituality, 2003
  • Founder, St Georges Cathedral Education Centre, 2001
  • Chaplain & Music Lecturer, UWA, 1988 - 1990
  • Chaplain and Music & Theology Tutor, Christ Church Oxford, 1980 - 1988
  • Member of the Rotary Club of Perth since 1992


(Photo courtesy of The West Australian)

As featured in the Guardian Express
FOUR Rotary Club of Perth members will become superheroes for a day plunging 220m from one of Perth’s tallest buildings to raise money for charity.

Beatrice Cervi, David Wee, Michele Roget and Jacques Phillips will abseil from the top of Central Park on Sunday, September 4 with money raised going to Kids’ Camp.

Club president Larry Hirsch said the team aimed to raise $8000 for the non-profit group that provides camps for children and young people with a disability.

For years, Angalia Bianca had slept in abandoned buildings throughout Chicago. She stole. She did drugs. She spent time in and out of jail for forgery, theft, trespassing, and possession of narcotics. But after she landed in prison for the seventh time, something changed -- Bianca knew she wanted a better life. She just didn’t know how to make it happen.
After serving her time, Bianca sought help from a local homeless organization, A Safe Haven, and moved to its shelter in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Bianca followed the program closely -- she attended all the required meetings, passed drug tests, and volunteered at every opportunity.
What is it like taking a large team to Africa?  It has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. In mid February, I began leading Rotary members from all over the East Coast of the United States through Ghana. I’ve tried to give the team a warm Ghanaian welcome like I’ve received on my earlier trips. A large trip is a real blessing because each person sees Ghana and our work in a different way.

A highlight for the team was greeting the chief of Sagadugu. The team got excited about buying goats and food for children in the villages where I support eight churches. It was good to see the pastors of most of the eight churches, and I had to explain that we were just passing through on our way to Bolgatanga.
Music has been an important part of leading an ordinary life for students at the Music School for Children With Disabilities in Honor of Paul Harris in Lublin, Poland. Founded by Rotary members, the school serves 20 students with various disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism, and visual impairments. The Rotary Club of Lublin-Centrum-Maria Curie-Sklodowska has provided funding with help from Rotary Foundation Matching Grants and the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society, which houses the school.
After their son Mateusz was born with underdeveloped eyes, Mariusz and Joanna Kania looked for ways to help him be active. When he showed an aptitude for music, they looked for a teacher and were thrilled to find the Paul Harris music school.
Throughout India and around the world, Rotary clubs are celebrating a major milestone: India has gone three years without a new case of polio. The last reported case was a two-year-old girl in West Bengal on 13 January 2011. To mark this historic triumph, Rotary clubs illuminated landmarks and iconic structures throughout the country with four simple but powerful words, "India is polio free."
The three-year achievement sets the stage for polio-free certification of the entire Southeast Asia region by the World Health Organization. The Indian government also plans to convene a polio summit in February to commemorate this victory in the global effort to eradicate polio.