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Posted by Franz Huber on Sep 30, 2018
Last Saturday morning, President Jo Winwood presented the original designer of our signature Wheelchairs project, Des La Rance, with an Honorary Membership of the Surfers Sunrise Rotary Club. Des has been a member of our club since 1992. He shot to prominence when, in August 1997, his design to manufacture wheelchairs for disabled children in developing countries bore fruit: accompanied by a crew from the TV show 'A Current Affair', the first 10 Wheelchairs were delivered to children in Fiji (see article in the Download Section on the right - 'First 10 Wheelchairs to Fiji'). Meanwhile, well over 8,500 wheelchairs have been delivered to all continents on earth. In addition, Des is responsible for the design and supervision of construction of a number of schools in Thailand and Samoa, the massive House of Hope project in Apia, Samoa and its follow up project to add another classroom, just to name a few. As the saying goes, the rest is history. No! This is not just history. This is a lasting legacy. Only a couple of weeks ago, The Australian newspaper carried a story depicting a boy in war torn Syria sitting on a Surfers Sunrise wheelchair, delivered about 10 years ago (see bulletin of 5th September 2018). 
 
Our sincere thanks go to Des, Daryl Sanderson OAM and their team of volunteers (too numerous to mention individually) at our Project Shed.  And we mustn't forget Bob Harrison, currently recovering from surgery, who has been the Wheelchair Trust's Treasurer since its inception over 30 years ago. Last year's Rotary International theme was 'Making a Difference'. Did it? Does it? There is no doubt! This year's theme is 'Be the Inspiration'. Are those guys out at the shed living up to this? The word 'Absolutely' is often badly misused in a hyperbolic manner. But certainly not in this case!