It is always interesting to find out a bit more about one of our club members.  This week we learned more about our Incoming President - Alan Thomson. 
Alan comes from one of the seven Channel Islands located between the UK and France. He was born on the Island of Jersey - an island about four times larger than Rottnest and home to some 100,000 citizens.  Although the main language is English, the locals also speak French - Alan says his French is somewhat rusty, having left the Island when he was in his 20's.  Alan had an interest in carpentry as a young lad and so went on to do an apprenticeship in that area, qualifying by the age of 21.  He also loved surfing and spent much of his youth "catching the waves". 
Alan has been married twice - firstly to Dianne (in 1969) and then to Jenny in (1979).  As a result of both unions, he has 4 children - Kyra and Chere from his first marriage and their sons Jason and Matthew from his second marriage.  When he and Dianne were on their honeymoon cruise to Perth, they found out, via a notice on the noticeboard on the ship, that Neil Armstrong had landed on the moon.  Once in Perth they settled in, Alan found work as a carpenter and they build their own home in Embledon.  Both girls were born in Perth.  Due to hard work, long hours and ongoing study Alan's first marriage suffered and he and wife Dianne split.  Although he vowed never to marry again, he met and married Jenny whilst touring the British Isles some years later.  Their sons Jason and Matthew was born when they returned to Perth. 
Stepping outside of the carpentry work that he had been so involved in, Alan became a construction site manager for various builders and developers; and in 1992 spent some 3 months in Cambodia helping them recover from the Pol Pot regime.  On his return to Perth he developed his own company, called Oakridge Investments, providing personnel to constructions companies when they needed extra staff for specific projects.  
Keen to help raise funds for charity he got involved in the Variety Club Bash in 1998.  It was a great opportunity to drive old cars around; get dressed up in the theme of the function; and at the same time raise funds for charity.  His virgin trip was in a 1964 Toyota Crown called "The Red Devil".  Through this organisation he met Bev, his current partner (and one of our wonderful club members).  Over a number of years they have developed their friendship and moved in together in 2000. 
As a duo, they have attended a number of Rotary International conventions all over the world, usually attending the Rotaract Pre-Convention, because of Bev's long term interest in Rotaract; and then staying on to the Rotary Conference.  I think at last count they had been to more than 15 conferences.  As well as Rotary events, they loved to travel and Alan accompanied Bev when she went with POW survivors and relatives to an event in Thailand at the Burma-Thailand Railway commemorating the terrible time endured by prisoners of war during the construction of the railway there.  They have also gone to China with the WA Symphony Orchestra as Bev has been a long time support of WASO. 
Following their last trip to the Rotary International Conference in Hamburg, Germany in 2019, Bev's health deteriorated, which has meant many changes for the both of them. 
It was great that Bev could come to the meeting with Alan this morning.  Thank you Alan for that very informative talk.