A History of the Rotary Club of Knysna 1962-2013

Compiled by PP Ian Uys and members of the Rotary club of Knysna

CONTENTS
Foreword by PP: Rob Clark

Year by year history
Past presidents: RCK and Anns
Honorary members
Paul Harris Fellows
Husband/wife club members Founder members
GSE team leaders
District Governors
Rotary Exchange Students
STEP
Rotary Ambassadorial Students

FOREWORD BY PP, ROB CLARK

I believe the success of any Rotary Club may be attributed to the enthusiasm and willingness of its members to be involved, together with strong and motivating leadership. Part of retaining membership is due to participation and maintaining dedication which our Club is able to do successfully through the numerous and varied activities in which we are involved. Our board of directors comprises men and women with strong leadership qualities, business and professional experience and in most instances a number of years of Rotary involvement. With these qualities our leaders are able to guide and motivate with a high success rate and as the privileged 50th President, I am proud and honoured to be a member of the Rotary Club of Knysna.

YEAR BY YEAR HISTOY

1961-2

In December 1961 the Provisional Knysna Rotary Club was formed at a meeting attended by PDG J. van den Bergh of Cape Town, President Blobs Hartnady and Rotarian Comay of the sponsor club, George, and a selection of Knysna residents. The following were elected as the first Board of Directors: President R. Condon. Vice-President F. Harrison, Secretary, Ken Alexander, Treasurer, N. Shillingford and Directors A. Gray, G. Parkes and H. Stent. The first luncheon meeting of the Provisional Club was held at the Golf Club House in Knysna on Tuesday, 9. January. A joint social meeting was held with Round Table on 7. March to ensure close cooperation between the two clubs. The Rotary Club of Knysna was chartered before 124 Rotarians at the Beacon Island Hotel, Plettenberg Bay, on 9. June, 1962. There were 22 couples present from the Knysna Club, 16 from George, seven from Oudtshoorn, six from Mossel Bay and five from Port Elizabeth. Koos and Mary van Eeden came from the Ceres Club. The guests included the mayor, Clr. A. Urry and his wife and Major-General B. Armstrong and his wife.

The charter members were:

Alexander, W. Anderson, J. Case, R. Condon, J. Duthie, J. Findlay, J. Finkelstein, S. French, A. Gray, H. Gripper, H. Max Hulett, W. Leuner, E. Meyer, H. Morgan, G. Parkes, C. Richardson, H. Surgey, N. Shillingford, H. Stent, G. van Niekerk, J. Walsh and F. Harrison. The latter was a senior active – hence possibly why he was not listed alphabetically!

The President, Rory Condon, was inducted by the DG, Mark Markson. Rory had won the Knysna Golf Championship in 1957. In 1961 and 1962 he was the golf club captain. A busy man, he had nevertheless found time to help found the Rotary Club of Knysna. The Honorary Secretary was Ken Alexander. President Harry Comay of the George Club was among those present, as was the Governor of District 235 at the time, Arthur Markson from East London.

1962-3 Rory Condon

The new Board and Officers assumed their duties as from 1. July 1962. The first Club Assembly was held on 11. July. In October the Club Bulletin was established and the ‘Tickey Bottle’ introduced. It was agreed that instead of signing by each Rotarian their names would simply be ticked off at each meeting. On 15. January 1963 a Presidential Collar and Emblem was presented to President Rory Condon. On 23. the guest speaker was PDG J.P. Duminy from Cape Town. The Bulletin heading: ‘Jottings from the Heads’ was adopted by the club. The club banners arrived in March. They had been designed by Stan French. Subscriptions increased to R7 per half year! In April five Knysna Rotarians attended the 38th District Conference held in Port Elizabeth. In June a ‘Veld & Vlei’ committee was formed, comprising Jack Case, Cliff Walsh, Solly Ofsowitz, Bill Burton and Mr. Tanner. There was no mention of an Anns club.

1963-4 Jimmy Finlay

The induction ceremony was held on 2. July 1963. A Rotary Ball was arranged for 28 December in the Town Hall. On 14. January visiting Rotarians and other visitors (24) exceeded the Club’s attendance of 20 members. In February a Seniors’ Club was successfully launched. A dinner held at the Leisure Isle Hotel on 6. May cost R1.50 per person, inclusive of wines! Koos van Eden from Ceres convinced the president and two other Rotarians to represent the Knysna Club at the District Conference being held in Bethlehem, Orange Free State, on 15. March. On 23. June the Club became a 100% Paid Up member of Rotary Foundation. Jim Finlay was to die in July 1977.

1964-5 Fritz Leuner

The July ‘Rotary in Africa’ showed that the club had 28 members and that the percentage attendance for March to May was 85%, 84% and 89%. The luncheon venue was changed to the Leisure Isle Hotel in October. South West Africa Clubs were included in District 235 from 7. July. The Knysna Rotary Ann Club was probably founded during Fritz’s year, though mention was only made of it in the following Rotary year.

1965-6 Stan French

The Education Fund was started to provide loans to University students. Hector Deary became a member of the club as a senior active after 30 years in Rotary. In March it was agreed that Knysna had little to offer American Exchange Students, so the idea was dropped. It was noted that the Anns had introduced a transport service for old age pensioners to get to the Post Office and back after collecting their pensions. A proposal to donate funds to the ‘Friends of Rhodesia Association’ was turned down as it was regarded as a political matter. In June it was agreed that setting up an Old Age housing complex was beyond the resources of our small club.

1966-7 Chas Richardson

Members were urged to raise R10 each for the Education Fund. PDG J. P. Duminy was nominated as a Director of Rotary International. The mayor and councillors of Plettenberg Bay were guests of the Club at a luncheon. A slide show of 72 slides entitled ‘Knysna Calling’ was put together by a club committee.

1967-8 Ken Alexander

Nineteen New Zealand Rotarians and Anns visited the Club on 19. March 1968. Subscriptions were increased to R16 per annum. There were four resignations from the Club toward the year end.

1968-9 Sholto Douglas

Child Welfare received a gift of 150 blankets from the Club.

Exchange Student Ann Shaefer was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Mount Barker, S Australia. Ivor Morgan had been sent as an Exchange Student to New Zealand.

1969-70 Ken Alexander

Marion Ann Mackenzie arrived as an Exchange Student from Hamilton, NZ. The District Conference was held at the Wilderness during April 1970 and the Knysna Club was responsible for organizing the entertainment. Diana Rogers from Rushmere Farm, near Sedgefield, went on Exchange to Adelaide, Australia. On 24. February 20 members of our Club met 45 visiting Rotarians from London at a dinner held at the Wilderness Hotel.

1970-1 Bill Anderson

Rotary road signs were put up by the municipality. On 13. October Ian Smith, prime minister of Rhodesia, and his wife attended the meeting and gave an address.

In November 1970 a function was held to entertain Round Tablers. The Club’s finances comprised R325 in the bank, R262 in the Special Purposes Fund and R4,367 in the Education Fund. The Heuwelkruin School received cheques from our Club for children’s birthdays.

1971-2 Vincent Mackenzie

The name ‘Rotary Club of Knysna’ was changed to ‘The Rotary Club of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay’. In July the first Anns’ Report was read out. It was agreed that it would in future be published in the Bulletin. In December the Heuwelkruin School Xmas Party was held for 12-14 girls. They went to Plettenberg Bay for a swim, tea at the Why Not Tearoom, then lunch at the Heads.

Rory Condon resigned in March. During June the ‘Jottings’ heading changed from the ‘Rotary Club of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay’ to the ‘Knysna Rotary Club’. Presumably Plettenberg Bay was then chartered. Over 230 trees were planted by the club.

1972-3 Alistair Begg

A committee was formed to consider opening an Old People’s Home. In October it was agreed that no money received from the general public would be used for running the Club. In January 1973 a past Exchange Student, Di Rogers (then Mrs Sandy Marr) gave a talk to the club. The principle of giving Merit Awards was approved. In November Patricia Corbett was selected as the outgoing Exchange Student to Walcha, Australia.

1973-4 James Squier

In August the Plettenberg Bay members considered whether to form their own club, but decided that it was too early. In December seven Exchange Students from the USA, Australia and New Zealand visited them. There were no escorts and the Club protested against this in writing.

1974-5 Brian Metelerkamp

Norrie de Jong from New South Wales, Australia, was hosted by the Corbetts. Her financial position was poor due to incorrect processing in Australia. Frank and Winnie Dick took her to the Free State for a Rotary Oxbraai. She had come from a sheep station, so enjoyed the trip immensely. They also took her to Kimberley. In June our members were encouraged to become blood donors.

Frank was also the District Conference Secretary. His wife, Winnie, was the Anns’ President and assisted him as the Conference Treasurer. Although three other committee members were in Cape Town everything went off like clockwork at Plettenberg Bay in April. She also acted as scribe for the couple, which was of great assistance in compiling the history of the club.

In November five Rotary Anns went to George for the Rotary Anns’ yearly hospitality day. The District Conference was held at Plettenberg Bay in April 1976. Alison Vickerman, daughter of Rotarian Peter Vickerman, went on exchange to Wellington, New Zealand. A spectacles project was begun and in July the specs were sent to Zambia and Swaziland. The Education Fund was divided into a Special Fund R477 and a General Fund R471. In May 1976 the Anns organized an Italian Evening at the Town Hall. They did all the catering and décor and raised over R500. Most of this was raised by morning markets, jumble sales, etc. and was given to the men for their different projects. R100 was sent to Angolan refugees in South West Africa.

1976-7 Charles Abbott

In August 1976 a Nuts & Noggins party was held at the home of PP Ken Alexander. The Special Purpose Fund received R1,000 from the Estate of Late Miss Goodwin, while the Education Fund got R1,826 from the Estate of Late Mrs Joan Fisk. Thanks to Vocational Service, in October 16 Knysna girls visited the Knysna Hospital – not for check-ups but to learn about nursing! Charles later resigned from Rotary when women became members. The District Conference was held at Hermanus toward the end of April. Charles wasn’t well so he and Phyllis didn’t attend the braai, but attended the Ball. During the dancing Phyllis and Winnie Dick were fortunate in having six men to choose from and Phyllis won a bottle of champagne.

The area clubbed together to raise the R1,000 for a Paul Harris Award for the DG, John McNally. Frank Dick presented him with the award at the Oudtshoorn dinner. Incidentally, Frank was regarded as ‘Mr Rotary’ and Winnie as ‘Mrs Rotary’. Frank heard that the ‘Boys on the Border’ needed books, so he got a Rotary project going to collect books and take them to the Army Base at Oudtshoorn, to be forwarded to the Border. Over 34 boxes of books were delivered.

1977-8 Bill Anderson

The Conference was held at Walvis Bay and most Knysna Rotarians flew there. A braai was held at the edge of the desert at ‘Dune 7’. Winnie Dick found the food to be too salty, as the caterers came from the mines in the desert.

Rotary held a gala night of ‘A Bridge too Far’, then later in the year a gala night with the production of ‘The Little Hut’. The Club participated in the 200th Anniversary of the landing in the Cape of Governor Van Plettenberg. In October the GSE Team from New Mexico, USA, visited Plettenberg Bay. A request for donations was received from the Eye Bank Foundation of South Africa.

1978-9 Ted Miles

On the 1st April 1979 overseas Rotary Exchange Students were hosted by Plettenberg Bay members. In April more books were sent to the Boys on the Border. The Conference was held in George where George Irvine, a Methodist minister from Port Elizabeth, received a standing ovation. Winnie Dick noticed that many of the ladies wore the new suede coats and she was green with envy!

Rotary celebrated its 75th Birthday in February and the Knysna Club organized a Hobbies Fair. Frank Dick was very busy with it. It ran for three days and was a great success. The Conference was held at Stellenbosch. Ladies were given lace frills to put in their hair while the men wore hats with huge ostrich feathers in them. Six Knysna Rotarians and Anns were present.

In April the Abbott and Dick couples were present at the Blackpool Conference to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Rotary in England.

1979-80 Lucky Dimopoulos

In September Petronella ‘Renel’ Grobler was given R500 toward her USA study trip. Exchange Student Liz Paneral from New Mexico was placed in a Knysna school. She left on 15 July, having been an excellent ambassador for her country. The Knysna Club continued to support Veld & Vlei, Insight into Nursing and Insight into Citizenship.

A ‘Nuts and Noggins’ evening was held at the Dicks’ home in November. That month the Rotary Golf Day was held at Plettenberg Bay.

The 5th Tuesday evenings were to be dinners with the Anns. A GSE Team from Massachusetts visited in August. Lucky was to serve as a mayor of Knysna and died in 2008.

1980-1 Peter Vickerman

More Stinkwood Traveling Trophies were made as it had proved a great success.

In July our outgoing Exchange Student, Tony van Halderen, left for Australia, while Janet Sachon arrived from Illinois. A GSE Team from Holland visited Plettenberg Bay in October. The following month the Club was informed that the Erf on which the Rotary Hut stood had been sold to a Mr Dorfling.

1981-2 Seymour Frost

Nan Frost didn’t serve as Rotary Ann president as they were moving house and Seymour assumed the presidency at short notice. Madge Adendorff then acted as Ann’s president. On 6 October Eric Robinson was wished a Happy 90th Birthday.

For Christmas the Rotary Anns had for some years been collecting and parceling up toys for the Child Welfare Christmas Party.

A 36-page booklet entitled ‘Knysna 1882-1982 Municipality Centenary’ was written by Rotarian Hennie Kirsten and published in both official languages. The proceeds were for the Educational Fund of the Knysna & Plettenberg Bay Rotary Club.

The Golf Day was held on 21 March, 1982. It was agreed that books which were not good enough to be sent to the Boys on the Border would be sold from the Hut. Over 300 boxes (12,000 books) had been sent already. There were still 60,000 Centenary envelopes to be sold.

On 4 May (charter date) the 20-year anniversary was celebrated. Jack Case had run the International Service for the full period. Bill Anderson said that when meetings had been held at the golf club, the meals had been brought from the Knysna Hotel. Subsequently meetings had been held at the Leisure Isle Hotel. A GSE Team from Hessen, West Germany, visited. The club strength stood at 27.

Seymour was owner of Portland Manor for many years. He died in 2007.

1982-3 Gerald Bendheim

In August it was suggested that a Rotaract or Interact Club be started. In November a Merit Award was presented to Brigadier Doug Campbell. Incoming Exchange Student Mark Wagner would attend Wittedrif High. Rotarian Hennie Kirsten would continue publicity for Hobbies in Action.

In December club members attended a function at the Plett Angling Club to meet Rotarian caravaners from overseas. The organizer, a large man from Blackpool, recognized Frank and Winnie Dick so greeted them. His hand crushed Winnie’s and it was a long time before she could write properly! Frank was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship Award at a February Rotary dinner.

In April a CPR Course was held at Knysna High and 8 girls and 5 boys passed. A GSE team from Japan was taken to lunch, then to Robberg. Forty-six Exchange Students visited Knysna and were accommodated at the Veld & Vlei Camp at Willow Point.

1983-4 Errol de Klerk

The Conference was held in Upington and Knysna Rotarians met up with many old friends there. Winnie Dicks fortunately remembered to take a cardigan as well as summer clothes.

Money collected from a car raffle was paid over to the Plettenberg Bay Child Welfare Society. The club looked into the possibility of inviting Coloured members to join and of sponsoring Black students.

In March the club had a braai at the Monk’s caravan park and the Rotary children had a terrific time at the pool. A coach load of Rotarians then left for the Conference in Windhoek. Over 25,000 books had been sent to the Border by the club.

1984-5 Chris Embling

Kirsten Rowe, an Exchange Student from Heskett, near Melbourne, went to Knysna High. She was hosted by the Van Halderens. It was agreed that Sunday afternoon trips for Loeriehof residents would be limited to three cars. Kristy’s parents visited Knysna in October 1984.

Charles Abbott was presented with a Paul Harris award. Instead of a Christmas party the club had oysters and champagne on pleasure cruisers belonging to Rotarians. In November members were castigated for not selling enough tickets for the premiere of a Tarzan movie. The Anns had excelled though. Books for the Border had become a Community Service project.

1985-6 James Teeling-Smith

Winnie Dick died of a duodenal ulcer hemorrhage on 13 July 1985. Frank and she had agreed that the survivor of them should go on living, so he tried to do so.

Sarah Ann Wright was the outgoing Exchange Student and Liza Marie Mann the incoming – she would be hosted by Mike and Diane Lawson after doing a two-week tour of South Africa with her mother.

The Plettenberg Bay Club was probably formed as the heading of the Directors’ Minutes changed to ‘Rotary Club of Knysna’.

In May the club made R3 400 profit from hosting a Tour of overseas Rotarians. The following month it was proposed to assist SANEL. There were 27 people there, ranging in age from 18 to 60.

1986-7 Ray Monk

The Picardi Knysna Cycle Tour took place for the first time. During the following years the Rotary Club assisted them in its running. The cycle club had as a motif an elephant riding a penny farthing cycle – very appropriate for Knysna.

The Polio Plus Programme was the main subject of discussion at a Club Assembly held on 14 April. It was agreed that the target set for our club was over-ambitious. Exchange Student Lisa Greathouse was being hosted by the Leaches and had not wished to write the year end examinations! Ray began the Bonanza Club which proved a great success.

1987-8 Wilhelm de Kock

Frank Dick married Don Dawson on 14 November 1987.

Rowan Spies was our outgoing Rotary Exchange Student to the USA. He won gold medals and awards while there. Lisa Greathouse left at the end of June. Ray Monk and the Bonanza Club committee reported that the last draw would be held in September and a finger supper enjoyed then. A profit of R11 500 was made.

1988-9 Peter Martin

On 30 August Rotarian Pierre Haarhoff, from the Uitenhage Rotary Club, was introduced as a member. A Paul Harris award for Ron Bird was proposed and agreed to.

Rohan Spies, our coloured Exchange Student, was so popular in the USA that they didn’t want him to return to Apartheid South Africa, so secured a bursary for him at a local university. Her did well at his studies and excelled at sport. A few years later his mother flew to the States to attend his graduation – and bring him home!

The Rotarians also donated a second-hand kombi for use by the municipality for the TB project. This was replaced with a red TB project vehicle in 1998, and this one is still in use! In 1998 DOTS became an official Rotary project and incorporated the 10-year-old project initiated by the Anns.

Also in 1988, DG Michael Johnson and Yvette returned from Anaheim with the news that women could become Rotarians. At the official DG visit at the Lawson’s home, Yvette addressed the Anns on this topic. They were horrified and thought it very unfair that younger women with careers could become Rotarians, but that they would not have the opportunity. It took 6 years before the first female Rotarians joined the Knysna Club and they had both been members of Rotary Clubs elsewhere already.

Under the Presidency of Di Lawson, the Anns responded to a request from SANTA, the TB organisation in town. They believed that the TB medication given to patients at its clinics was less effective if taken on an empty stomach. They wanted nutritious sandwiches to be supplied daily for patients to have with their medication. The Anns started the sandwich project, through SANTA and Sister Casewell at Knysna Municipality.

1989-90 Mike Lawson

In July it was proposed that when the stinkwood ran out the Traveling Trophy should be replaced with the book ‘Viewpoint on South Africa’. The Honorary Membership of Jack Case and Charles Richardson was renewed.

The club assisted with providing ablution facilities for the Blacks who were being moved from the Witlokasie site. Otherwise the provision of wheelchairs was being considered.

The Plettenberg Bay Club had raided our club and afterwards complained in their club bulletin about the quality of fellowship manifested by Knysna members. President Mike Lawson said that it must be impressed on our members that fellowship is everyone’s responsibility and that he would then have a word with the Plettenberg Bay president.

The purchase of a mobile anti-TB clinic was approved, being a converted Auto Villa. The Kombi is still in use.

In June Frank and Don Dick took an American Exchange Student to Matjiesfontein via Seweweekspoort and Meiringspoort. He elected to read a newspaper during the trip so it fell rather flat. Frank concluded that the almighty dollar was the main method used in selecting Exchange Students in America.

1990-1 Dieter Brandt

An introductory meeting had been held to form a Probus club. The Naval Cadets requested assistance in refurbishing the old bus shed and to buy a boat. The club advanced them R3 000 provided that they assisted with the Cycle Tour in July.

The Pannells were organizing ‘Friendship Tours’ for R11 500 per person. Loerie Park wouldn’t be available for the Cycle Tour, so the park alongside George Rex Drive would be used. Details of the relationship between the Cycle Club and the Rotary Club must be codified. Bill Anderson was made an honorary member of the club.

The Cycle Tour had been successful but with only 500 entries there seemed little prospect of earning a substantial income from it. The SANEL workshop was completed. As the Sea Cadets had not assisted with the Cycle Race they were informed that they must assist with another project in order to repay the R3 000 we had paid for their boat.

Fifteen members of the club had voted against ladies being admitted to the club. The Bonus Bonanza Club had paid R8 089 to the club.

1991-2 Dave Winde

R500 was donated to the SA Police Widows and Orphans fund. An elderly member had applied to rejoin the club, but he was referred to Probus as it was felt that the club had sufficient members.

There were 17 participants in the November Rotary tour, which was break-even. John Gale would be speaking to the new caterer at Ashmead – about meal quality! The profit from the Cross-Cape Cycle Tour was R10,000. A Merit Award was made to Hilda Vowles.

The club co-ordinated the installation of a boardwalk at the Garden of Eden. The project was said to have been granted an international award and written congratulations were received from the Transvaal Provincial Administration.

In May a large group of Knysna Rotarians attended the Conference in Windhoek, followed by a week’s tour of the flowers of Namibia. It was a wonderful tour organized by Dave Winde.

1992-3 John Gale

Petra Brandt was sent to Bremen, Germany as our Exchange Student. A request from Knysna High for a pavilion was refused on the grounds that all schools are treated the same by the club. Cross Cape would be sponsoring the Cycle Tour. An overhead projector had been presented by us to the Knysna Senior Secondary School and ten calculators to the Percy Mdala School.

The incoming Exchange Student was Jeffrey Alan Lockard from Elkton, Michigan, USA. He would initially be hosted by Ray and Helena Monk. The Board approved a Sapphire Pin to Charles Abbott’s Paul Harris award.

1993-4 Mike Purchase

Mike averred that he followed a windy gale as president. The club was approached to take over the running of the cycle race. It was agreed to on the understanding that the Rotary Club was in full control and possession of the race.

GSE team from Denmark witnessed our first democratic election.

1994-5 John Satchel

Two ladies were introduced into the club – to the consternation of many diehards. John visited them privately in their homes to point out that there was nothing in the MOP to preclude lady members.

‘A big step was taken when I took up the challenge/threats/dead bodies, etc and inducted the first two ladies into our club. I had to visit each of the main objectors in person at their homes, armed with the MOP, to ask them to point out why they were objecting. I did these visits all in one day so that they could not warn each other of what to expect.

‘There were many promises of ‘over my dead body’ and resignations, but only one asked for excused attendance, for which he qualified. No one resigned and a number of ‘dead bodies’ are still members of our club today.’

One lady left soon after and the other, Irmela Pakendorf, transferred to the Parow Club. She has since returned to our club.

1995-6 Ken Dando

Six Paul Harris awards were presented during Alex Edwards’ year as president. Ken Dando refused his. As the immediate past president he felt that he hadn’t deserved it.

There was a need to appoint a club historian. Angela Fonseca, the Exchange Student, moved to Knysna High from Oakhill. She took guitar lessons on the side. The Knysna High’s Interact Club was progressing well. A plaque would be erected at the Vermont Home, which has apparently got financial problems.

R25,000 was received from the Cycle Tour and was given to Red Cross. A claim was made by a cyclist who had missed a turnoff, but litigation was avoided.

DG Rodney Mazinter and his wife, Mavis, had enjoyed their visit to Knysna and gave us a great report. A matching grant of $27,066 (R119,099) was received from Singapore for the Vermont Centre for the Aged project in October. A vehicle was purchased for use by them.

The Vermont Old Age Home was equipped, largely through Koos van Eeden’s efforts.

1996-7 Alex Edwards

The incoming Exchange Student was Annette Schocher from Austria, hosted initially by John and Lesley Satchel. From March John would lead a GSE Team to Sweden. The changing of lunch time meetings to evenings was discussed and rejected.

An office was provided by Foti Michaelopolis for the Knysna Rotary Cycle Tour in the Melville Centre. Over 3,000 cyclists were expected. President Alex Edwards explained STEP (Short term exchange program) to the club.

1997-8 Ashley Towell

A computer was given to a local boy as his ‘Reach for a Dream’ before he died. Ashley was to be a drawing force behind the Cycle Race and earned a Sapphire pin.

1998-9 Robert Pawson

The monthly Bonanza draw and its end of year Bonanza party provided excitement for those who won and an opportunity for our Rotarians to mix on a monthly basis with the community of Knysna. The cycle race turned out to be even bigger than the previous year and on a rainless weekend, a great success and provided the biggest income for the year. Further income was derived from a successful golf day, international tours and other smaller events.

A group of Rotarians remained very involved in the DOTS program, assisting the Municipality handing out pills for TB on a daily basis and the Anns’ sandwiches on a daily basis as well. Assistance was given to Child Welfare, Vermont, Loeriehof, and numerous local créches.

Doug Mills was instrumental in setting up the first adult literacy in Concordia Library, providing programs which run through TV sets. This was well used after hours by the adult community and soon spread to other outlets. A very successful Careers Day was held for all the schools in the area. A counselling service was instituted, whereby people with business or other problems could get advice from Rotarians with expertise in these particular fields – this did not show any great success although the idea was good.

Our club hosted a friendship tour with participants from various countries and an exchange student for the year.

After discussions with the Police and Child Welfare, a new comfort room was prepared at the hospital and was to be used for counselling and questioning of rape and child abuse victims without having to endure the atmosphere of the charge office at the Police Station. This room was furnished and painted by Rotarians while the Anns donated various items from clothing to blankets as might be required. The Anns also set about making the children’s courtroom at the magistrate’s court comfortable and homely, making it easier for children to give evidence or to be questioned. They also assisted Famsa with donated blankets for the winter months.

1999-2000 Koos van Eeden

The district conference was held in Bellville and we were reminded that it was Rotary’s goal to eradicate polio by the year 2000. A number of us also attended the mini-conferences in Swellendam and Beaufort West.

We started off with 37 members. PP Alex Edwards resigned as they immigrated to New Zealand. Mike Mills and Lesley Satchel joined the club as new members and Dennis Walker and Hans Tollenaar transferred from other clubs. John Satchel became DG Elect.

November: 11 of us went for a weekend by canoe up Keurbooms River to Whiskey Creek. January: 5 couples went to Henry Alant’s Zuurberg Mountain Inn for the weekend including Oosthuizens, Uyses and van Eedens. We had our final Bonanza draw at the Angling Club in the form of a ‘Mad Hatter’s’ fancy dress ball. During March we lost our usual cricket match against Sanel at Keurbooms, but had a very successful picnic.

The Cycle Race was a great success and was sponsored by Pick n Pay and KFM. The income of the last two Cycle Races was used to purchase a Venture minibus for the TB/DOTS project and to pay for the salary of a TB nursing sister for 12 months. Thanks to Ashley Towel for managing this. A Trauma Room was furnished at the new Police Station with much help from the Anns. Our Golf Day was successfully run by Lucky Dimopoulus.

The ‘Serenity Care Drug Rehabilitation Centre’ is shortly to receive a pump and equipment to supply them with water, through a matching grant managed by David Lovely and Ian Ballantine. Two new Interact clubs were inaugurated at Percy Mdala and Knysna Secondary schools, bringing our Interact clubs to four – thanks to Ken Boyd. The following student related projects were done: – Bursaries worth over R 40,000 were paid to students at tertiary institutions. Seven students were sent on ‘The Outward Bound’ adventure course, six students went to ‘Adventure into Citizenship’ in Cape Town, three children were sponsored at Stepping Stones.

The Pannells organized and led the Friendship Tour to Brazil with 36 Rotarians from seven different countries and the incoming tour, Friendship Tours No 23 with Rotarians, who were entertained to a braai at Belvidere Manor. A tour of Rotarians from Bombay visited us during April and from Norway, Denmark and Australia. The Anns awarded a ‘Diana Theresa’ award to Ms L Bubb. They also furnished the new Children’s Court Room and adjoining waiting room for parents and counsellors at the new Magistrate’s Court building.

2000-1 James Pannell

From memory, I can recall that, as usual, Louise and I were very busy with our Rotary International Friendship tours, which we have now done for the last 20 years. Because of this commitment, I had to nominate two deputy presidents during my term to assist while Louise and I were away on the tours. My assistants were the immediate Past President Koos van Eeden and past president Robbie Pawson, who officiated during my absence.

In July our annual Cycle Tour Project sponsored by Pick n Pay was held in good weather and as usual, all went smoothly. During September and October 2000, Louise and I led a group of 18 Rotarians from South Africa, England and Australia on a Rotary Friendship Tour of New England in the Fall. Apart from all the fascinating touring, we visited Rotary clubs and had fellowship with the clubs of Lake Placid, Stowe and Boston. The President of the Lake Placid Club and his wife subsequently came on our Rotary Friendship Tours of South Africa and Croatia and they will also be joining our Friendship Tour to China in September 2009. In November and December 2000, Louise and I were the tour guides and leaders of the 24th Rotary Friendship tour of South Africa. We had 21 Rotarians from England, USA and Canada. We were hosted at a special Rotary meeting of the Benoni Aurora club in Gauteng, where banners were exchanged and we were fortunate to have present, an old friend of the tours and the current DG of District 9300, Ted Pope. Our Rotary meeting in the Battlefields town of Ladysmith was attended by the two local Rotary clubs. In Knysna, where the group was home hosted, we arranged a special fellowship evening on the Saturday evening. The Friendship Tours project brings in to club funds on average R 25,000 per annum.

During this year Louise was proposed by Peter Klews for club membership and after some strong opposition by certain male members of the club, who still objected to lady members, it was my great pleasure to induct her as a new member of the Knysna Club.

With money received from a matching grant from the Rotary Club of Mesquite, we purchased a new microbus, which was presented to Sanel (now named Epilepsy SA).

Our Club also donated 4 computers to Percy High School. The four Knysna Interact Clubs were all very active during the year and I attended the induction meetings.

2001-2 Elwin Thompson

PP John Satchel was inducted as the District Governor at the April 2001 Conference which was held in Windhoek. Knysna Rotarians decided to visit Ai Ais and Etosha while in Namibia. Yohana Stupar, our Exchange Student from Argentina, and Catherine Sapnas, Ambassadorial Scholar from Miami, also travelled with Knysna Rotarians. The Huskissons, Oosthuizens, Pannells, Pawsons, Retiefs, Satchels and Thompsons were among the party enjoying the fellowship of that trip. Our club delighted in hosting Yohana Stupar from Cordoba, Argentina. An Australian Friendship Tour was hosted at a function held at the Petitjean’s country home.

The Provincial Hospital was assisted by the club with fencing and a Jungle Gym. The Rotary Friendship Tour 24 enjoyed fellowship with the club at Rotarian Ian Uys’ Bradach House. A bus was purchased for Sanel, thanks to a matching grant with the Mesquite Club of the USA.

In February the club sponsored the outgoing team to Norway with R5,000. The team leader was Rob Pawson from our club.

On 22 March the Bonanza Party was held, with the theme as ’Moulin Rouge’. AG Rob Pawson had a farewell function for his GSE Team before they left for Norway. The Knysna Sea Cadets were given R25,000 toward building much needed classrooms.

DG John Satchel’s District Conference was in Worcester. Keynote speakers were Tim Modise, radio personality, Zachie Achmat, AIDS activist, Moss Mashishe, CEO of sustainable development organisation. David Kramer, the entertainer from Worcester, was give a community service certificate. It was well supported by the Knysna Rotarians.

It was Knysna Rotary Club’s 40th birthday and a function was held at the Golf Club. All Rotarians were asked to wear red, and an interactive drumming presentation was led by Nidhi and Rochelle, professional drummers.

On 24 July 2001 the Anns presented Pam Wingrove with the Diana-Theresa Award. Sher trained first-aiders and home carers for Hospice and the Red Cross and for manning first aid stations during the cycle race. They run the blood bank and are often present at local disasters.

2002-3 Francois Retief

Attempts to identify a ‘major project’ were unsuccessful. The ‘Centennial Project’ ex Peter Klews of a pathway to the Heads has since resurfaced. DG John Satchel pressured for a second club, so the president had 32 prospective members to a club lunch as a group. Perhaps they were put off by the lunch!

The club attempted to obtain a building at Karatara from the municipality as an orphanage or abused persons’ shelter. It subsequently became a ‘university’. Hosted Kathleen Bibb from South Carolina, out on a ’new generations grant’. She was accompanied by Neale Peterson. We weren’t impressed and discussed her case with the DG. Used the UCT School of Dance as a fundraiser concert and forwarded $2,200 to the polioplus campaign.

The club funded the Anns to produce about 120 tracksuits for AIDS children victims. We held a careers day for 1,000 children at Percy Mdala School. Received 42 computers from the UK and Dutch clubs for refurbishing. We salvaged very little and won’t do it again.

Joan Huskisson and Louise Pannell served on the Board – probably the first ladies to do so. We hosted Colin and Ann de Ruig from Tzaneen who were cycling around South Africa. Vermont old age home invitees played the theme ‘You are not old and useless’. We wasted valuable time in trying to acquire a brick-making machine as a job creation programme.

We added a new building to the Dorothy Broster Home. The club members joined the Anns in an excursion to the Addo Rose Show. The club gave honorary membership to our members Seymour Frost and Doug Mills, probably the first for our club. We lent Vermont Old Age Home R20,000 as they were in financial trouble. We disposed of the portable toilet trailer to Oakhill School.

Our STEP Student, Jennifer Bell, was elected Head of Hostel at York High, in George. An audio microscope had been purchased for local use and proved a boon.

The Anns president Judith Retief had Marike de Klerk attend and give a talk. She was the divorced wife of President FW de Klerk and was to be brutally murdered a year later.

The Anns made and handed over 120 tracksuits to AIDS orphans as part of a Southern African campaign driven by the Rotary Westville Club.

2003-4 Andrew Finn

A R20,000 loan to Vermont Centre had been made for them to pay wages. Honorary Membership was offered to Doug Mills and Seymour Frost. A bus was purchased for Die Werkswinkel with a matching grant from the DL Murray Trust. A GSE Team from Finland visited. A ‘Rotary path to the Heads’ was under consideration.

2004-5 Mike Mills

The Rotary 99th Birthday was held at the Round Table clubhouse. The Werkswinkel bus was handed over on 15 June. Elizabeth Koti was presented with a Paul Harris Award. ‘Youth’ would in future be known as ’New Generations’. Sixty wheelchairs were purchased for distribution. The Bonanza would be shelved for a few years. Ultrasound Equipment to the value of R11,900 was donated to the Knysna Provincial Hospital. A Selector was added the following year.

In 2005 DG Metcalf Fick held his District Conference in Upington. Knysna Rotarians wore black shirts advertising next year’s conference in Knysna (2006 Knysna). A trip was arranged to Augrabies and Kgalagadi. The Finns, Retiefs, Pawsons, Satchels and Thompsons had good fellowship during that trip too. The Finns, travelling later than the other cars, consistently had the most wonderful and rare sightings of wildlife!

The Heatherhill Interact Club was also chartered in 2005. They were immediately very active in the ‘Rally to Read’ literacy project that took them to many rural schools in state-of-the-art vehicles, sponsored by McCarthy Motor Holdings.

2005-6 Des Wearne

At the Rotary Centennial function the mayor unveiled a Rotary mileage pole at the Waterfront. A corporate Paul Harris award to Pick n Pay was discussed. A second-hand ENT microscope was purchased for Specialist Martin Young for R20,000. The Dorothy Broster Board resigned. The possibility of starting a new Knysna Rotary Club was mooted. Matsumi from Japan was a popular STEP Student – except by a member who had been in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II! Laparoscopes had been purchased for the Knysna Provincial Hospital. R300,000 was received from the Cycle Race. R72,000 was spent on books for schools, R95,000 on a car for the Red Cross and R40,000 contributed towards building the pre-school at Joodse Kamp.

DG Johann Gerber held his District Conference in Knysna called ‘Head 2 Knysna’. This was a very well-attended conference and enjoyed by all, especially the informal �’Wood Cutters’ function held on the Saturday evening.

2006-7 Andre Sandiford

The Interact Clubs were beginning to work on projects. The Cycle Race was taken out of the Knysna Rotary Club and put under a Trust to avoid personal liabilities, tax, VAT, etc. Rotarian Gillian Carter’s home was burgled and her housemaid murdered. R58,000 was paid for a bus for Ruigtevlei School. The club subsidized youngsters to put on a play about AIDS at the Grahamstown Festival. The DG’s dinner was held at Portland Manor.

Woolworths selected the Rotary Club to distribute their after ‘Sell by Date’ food. R145,000 was given as bursaries to tertiary students. DG Ken Howe’s District Conference was in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. Once again a contingent of Knysna Rotarians set out on a tour of Namibia, this time to Sossusvlei and Etosha. Peter and Pam Klews took some of them to sleep under the stars at Bludkoppe in the desert. The Knysna Rotarians who travelled to Etosha were Gillian Carter, the Pawsons, the Pickles, the Sandifords, the Satchels, the Thompsons, the Uyses and the van Eedens. A wonderful fellowship experience, braaiing venison and eating biltong!

2007-8 Lesley Satchel

Our club’s first woman president was inaugurated. Outgoing Exchange Student was Zandile Titi. The club’s anniversary dinner was held at the Sirocco, which proved too noisy. A US helicopter pilot, Eva Rodriguez gave an interesting talk on her experiences in Afghanistan, etc. A GSE Team from Dallas visited the club. Peter Klews was appointed as the club administrator.

Lesley wrote, ‘I became 46th president of the Rotary Club of Knysna, the first female president of our club. Throughout the year the men were very helpful and cooperative and I think they treated me well because I am a woman. We had no resignations and increased our membership.

‘Our club started Development Cycling at the Knysna Sports School with generous support and bicycles from the Life Cycling Academy based in Cape Town and Claremont Rotary Club. The first Development Cycling Team rode in the Mountain Bike Race of the Knysna Rotary Cycle Tour in 2008. At the same time a kiddies’ Safe Cycling Project was run for 7-year-olds at township schools by the Knysna Sport School with 10 bicycles donated by a Rotarian in Knoxville, USA.

‘During my year as president the theme was ‘Rotary Shares’. Our club had matching grants from clubs in other countries, and attracted support from other sources as well, so the community projects to the value of more than R2 million were run by the Rotary Club of Knysna.

‘A special award of R1,000 plus a trophy donated by Santam was initiated for Interact projects to acknowledge and honour the work that Interact Clubs are also doing in the Knysna community. It is a special experience to be the president of a vibrant club like Knysna, and as our club grows it seems we won’t have ‘recycled’ presidents for a long time.’

It was the first year of the new Club Leadership Plan of R I, where Vocational Service ceased to be an Avenue of Service, and was replaced by Membership and Public Relations, which were regarded as more important in the second century of Rotary International. Knysna Rotary Club already had a strong New Generations committee with many projects, and it was decided to retain New Generations on the Board.

R132,000 was spent on a laparoscope and ancillary equipment and 100 hospital beds for the Provincial Hospital. In total over R2 million was distributed to charities during Lesley’s year. A former president and mayor of Knysna, Lucky Dimopoulos, died. The Anns were occupied during the year with Loeriehof Home for the elderly, Vermont Home for the elderly, assistance with the Rotary projects such as the cycle race, DOTS program for TB patients, collecting money for FAMSA, teas and refreshments for Hospice Ballet and Sinethemba (street children) and toys and clothing donated to Knysna Child Welfare and the Disaster Fund.

The Knysna High School Interact Club was entered for the President’s Award. They have 65 members, comprising 47 girls and 18 boys. They had about 20 projects and activities during the year, including the Hokisa Children’s Home, an Interact Wall at the school, Child Welfare, Valentine’s Ball, Little Elephants Pre-School, Loeriehof, Children�s Ward at the hospital, Outward Bound and Die Werkswinkel.

2008-9 Peter Klews

The club handed over funds to the Knysna Sport School’s Development Trust in March 2009. The donation, obtained from matching grants from Rotary Nieuwkoop in Holland, was facilitated by Rotarian Hans Tollenaar. He explained that the Dutch club had expressed an interest in donating funds to a development project for young children which would benefit them in later life. Some 277 children participate in the development range of eight sporting disciplines.

A new Interact Club was chartered at Knysna Montessori School, with Xianique Nel as its first President. Knysna Montessori has made it compulsory for their senior learners to be members of Interact as part of the school curriculum. They immediately embarked on an ambitious programme of projects.

Members of Knysna Rotary Club enjoyed a weekend of fellowship at the Uys’ resort Bushman Valley at Prince Albert.

DG Elwin Thompson’s District Conference was held in Oudtshoorn. It was one of THE conferences to remember! It was well supported by members of the club who attended in good numbers. A ‘Black and White’ Ball was held on the Saturday evening where the Knysna Club was again very well represented by Prince DGarming, Snow White and the 24 Rotary ‘Dwarfs’. Knysna’s first Ambassadorial Scholar, Damian Lahoud, also attended before he set out to Linkoping in Sweden to study Ethics. Damian put them all to shame with his energetic dancing. Much fun and fellowship was had by all!

On 14 July Damian Lahoud gave a talk on his forthcoming trip to Sweden. He had studied at Potchefstroom University where he was nicknamed ‘Soutie’, but ended up being Rag Chairman on the Student Council and began the ‘Joolympics’. Damian won an academic merit award, graduated BSc and did a first year B Comm. He thanked the Knysna Rotarians for the bursaries which had enabled him to have these experiences.

2009-10 Ian Ballantine

By the time I, the Rotary Club of Knysna’s 48th President, took over this post, the club had developed into a smooth running organization, with a number of projects and fundraising events which are ongoing or occur annually.

The Service Projects Committee organized visits to some of their projects for club members to familiarize and see the working projects and to keep track of the progress of all matching grants done by the club in the past.

The club strength stood at 57, with the average lunch attendance always above 70%, and the club was often host to visitors both locally and from overseas.

This is a vibrant club, with members who complement each other in so many different ways. It was a real pleasure for me to be a member of the Rotary Club of Knysna.

2010-11 Franc Bentley

The past year has been an extremely busy and rewarding one and I can say with certainty that the Rotary Club of Knysna has fulfilled the 2010/11 Rotary Theme, ‘Building Communities, Bridging Continents.’

Remarkable work has been achieved by the club in all aspects of Rotary service and particularly via means of implementation of numerous matching grants. I attach a list of the club’s activities as to mention each one in depth would take for ever.

At the District Conference in Hermanus, the club was awarded:

  1. Community Service Award – Wheelchair and ENT Week projects
  2. Youth Award – Interact Project with Bath
  3. PR Award – Club awareness in Your Town

The Anns, not to be outdone, received two awards:

  1. Community Service – DOTS project
  2. Best Attendance

I thank my board and all Rotarians for their support and commitment. We belong to a very special club. Appreciation goes to the Anns for their support and especially to their President, my lovely wife Penny, for being my guide and strength.

Thank you for allowing me the honour of being your President. It has been a memorable privilege and experience for me and Penny.

2011-12 Rob Clark

What a privilege and honour it was to serve as the 50th President of the Rotary Club of Knysna. The opportunity to be involved in and gain knowledge of all the club’s activities was in itself a reward and extremely fulfilling. I was supported by an extremely competent, experienced and dedicated board. A new set of bye-laws was adopted. A secondary objective of this exercise was to return power to the members and I believe this was achieved. A regular gathering of the Rotary Clubs of the Southern Cape was introduced with emphasis on business and social aspects. Our 50th anniversary was in itself a milestone and is testimony to the commitment of our members and the many successes over the years. This was celebrated at a function to be remembered for its significance and was attended by many celebrities and representatives from other service organisations and Rotary Clubs. We held a Rotary Awareness Day which aimed at greater public awareness of Rotary International, the local Knysna Club and many of the projects and institutions we support. Feedback was positive and it is hoped that this will become an annual event. In closing I give thanks for the privilege of experiencing this life-changing experience and hope that I was able to make some small contribution to the future and sustainability of our great Club.

2012-13 Ina Thompson

This year had few lows and many highs. We had sad news in August when Gillian Carter passed away in Graaff- Reinet. The membership increased when I inducted Frances Cannoo, Zane Pretorius and Noel Mackenzie in September and Mirrick Arries in February. Candy Sharples, Annette Nelson and Irmela Pakendorf resigned during the year. Michelle Wasserman resigned as a Rotarian, but was invited back as an honorary member. Two teachers, Ineke Small and Norma Plaatjies, were also made honorary Rotarians for a year. A very enjoyable and successful festival, the Lagoon SPLASH, was held in December. The last Group Study Exchange team from Japan arrived in May for four enjoyable days. The first and successful Rotary Family Health Days were held in May when Rotarians and clinic staff worked hand in hand. Hans Tollenaar, Nico du Plessis and Peter Klews received Paul Harris Fellows from the Club. The Club had a record of seven Matching Grants during the year. We had a large number of projects and fellowship events were often arranged. Club members also went on two very enjoyable weekend outings to Buffelsdrif and Diepwalle respectively. Thank you to the members of the club for all their love, help and support. The board members worked very well together to make a great success of the year. Well done and thank you.


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