The project is aptly named, as it is intended that all of the scooters will eventually rotate as the name implies and will go "round and round".

It all started in May 1994 when President Dick Holland was approached by Ken Allan, a well respected club member and pharmacist, who felt the need to help one of his customers, Mrs. Judy Elms. Judy was suffering from a very rare muscle wasting disease known a "Stiff-Man's Syndrome" and was rapidly losing her mobility. There was no cure for the condition and her outlook was fairly bleak, but Ken felt compelled to do something for her. He proposed to the Board that the club buy Judy an electric powered scooter that would break down and be easily carried in a car.

President Dick and the Board were sympathetic to the request but had a problem justifying such a large part of the Project Account funds to a single beneficiary. In 1994, the electric scooter was a relatively new and expensive vehicle. There were virtually no secondhand ones around and a new one cost up to $4500-$5000. Furthermore there was no way of knowing just how much use Judy would get out of a scooter before she might become so ill she could not use it or even succumb to the inevitable. It could have been years, months or even weeks.


Eventually the Board came to the conclusion that they could justify the purchase if they could get the scooter back when Judy was finished with it and then allocate it to someone else. Dick asked Chris Thomsen for some free legal advice to see if we could lease the scooter to Judy for a peppercorn payment, retain ownership of it, get it back when required and absolve ourselves of all contingent liability. Like the fine solicitor he was in those days, Chris worked up the Lease Agreement that is still used to this day. The proposal was put to the members for their comments and support and soon after it was approved by the Board.


Judy was presented with her scooter 26th May 1994, and the Rotary Scooters project came to life. The documentation used was collated into an operational manual and the objectives and procedures were also defined.


The Objective of the project:-

To establish a pool of electric scooters to be leased for an annual fee of one dollar to eligible disabled people who might otherwise be virtually house bound, to improve the quality of their lives and provide assistance to their families and carers.


Successive Presidents have carried on the project and by the end of 2008/09 we had 20 scooters in the pool. The project is managed by a committee within the Community Service Avenue.

It is estimated that as of 2009 the project has provided about two hundred cumulative years of physical support to individuals in our community.


Footnote. At the time of writing, Judy is still driving Scooter No1. There is still no cure, but her condition has been stabilized and is being managed. She still relies on her trusty Marlin Scooter which she named "Spirit" in honour of Rotary and how our generosity lifted her Spirit when she was most in need.


Sadly, Ken Allan PHF passed away in August 1996 after a long battle with cancer.