Rotary International ‘branches’ out and plans to plant 1.2m trees

Vanessa Howard-Tripp (right) remains in the chair as Port Shepstone Rotary Anns' President. Here she introduces three new members to her team, from left, Mary Boyce, Sandy John and Joan D'Arcy.

NEW Port Shepstone Rotary president Elaine Galanakis has announced an ambitious international plan to plant 1.2 million trees worldwide this year.

Speaking at her induction dinner at the Port Shepstone Country Club on Saturday evening, President Galanakis echoed Rotary International president Ian Riseley’s sentiment: “The time has long passed when environmental sustainability could be dismissed as ‘not of Rotary’s concern’. It must be everyone’s concern!”

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With Rotary’s theme for the year, ‘Making a Difference’ in mind, President Galanakis hit the ground ‘digging’ by handing out small trees to about 60 people who attended her induction dinner.

She announced that the club’s major project for the year would be the Hope Park Conservancy in Marburg.

Hope Park project convener Rotarian Pastor Reggie John is also going to plant many of the trees at the park on Arbor Day in September.

Rotarian Pastor Reggie John was awarded the trophy for Port Shepstone Rotarian of the Year by outgoing president Dell Pendock at the club’s induction dinner at the Port Shepstone Country Club last Saturday.

Pastor John was also awarded the ‘Rotarian of the Year’ trophy, not only for Hope Park, but for his tireless work behind the scenes in all the club’s projects.

President Galanakis took over the chain of office from Dell Pendock who reported back on a busy and successful year, one of the highlights being the Rotary Thompson Nissan Festival of Speed soapbox derby held at Dezzi’s Raceway two Sundays ago.

Project convener Johnny Nel was also awarded Rotary’s highest international accolade, a Paul Harris Fellowship (named after Rotary’s founder a century ago) for his dedicated service to the community over many years.

This, coupled with the Rotary Youth Leadership Course, Hope Park and much more, kept the Sheppie Rotarians busy in Past President Pendock’s year.

Rotary Ann President Vanessa Howard-Tripp also reported on her busy year, among other projects, providing hundreds of ‘necessity packs’ to victims of abuse at the Rape Trauma Centre at Port Shepstone Hospital, which is run by Rotarians Dr Gerald Baldrey and Sister Dudu Ndlovu.

Taking over the president’s ‘heavy’ chain of office and the 70-year-old charter for the Port Shepstone Rotary is Elaine Galanakis, flanked by Rotary Assistant Governor Gavin Jepson and outgoing president Dell Pendock.

The Anns also provided about R20 000 worth of these packs to victims of the recent Southern Cape fires.

It was a swanky, but fun evening with everyone leaving clutching their trees and firmly vowing to ‘Make a Difference’.

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Bevis Fairbrother
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