Muswellbrook Rotary Club brings up 75 years of service to the local community

A HIGH work ethic, innovative ideas and an incredible reputation has characterised the Muswellbrook Rotary Club since its inception, and those traits have now allowed them to bring up 75 years in the local area.

Celebrating in style at the Muswellbrook Race Club on Friday night, dozens of community members attended to help pay tribute to the organisation that has been running since 1944.

Current president and long-serving member, John Hobden, said there was something incredibly special about the group that had allowed it to maintain a presence despite the first meeting being held while WWII was still being fought.

Former members and representatives including Greg Bevan, Peter Rayner, Graeme Hooper, David White and Barry Cox spoke on the night.

They have done an exceptional amount of fundraising across the years, but have also provided a wealth of opportunities for young people via their exchange programs.

Mr Hobden said that has always been a focus of the local branch, and revealed the program had a significant impact for some.

"We send students overseas on long-term exchange which is excellent, and that's extremely rewarding," he said.

"There's one person that went on exchange 20-odd years ago to Germany, that said it changed her life."

The girl he was referring to is Joplin Higgins, who now runs one of the most recognisable law firms in the region.

Most recently they have welcomed 16-year-old Manon Zoehner from Germany, who is based in Merriwa during her time in the country.

"I was so excited to go to Australia because there were only three places available for 80 people who wanted to go to Australia," she said.

"I'm here for 12 months and I've been here now for three, and it's really amazing, I really love it and you make so many new experiences I would've never thought of.

"I have an amazing [host] family and we're doing such cool things together, and school is very different."

She also mentioned how unique it is to travel through Rotary, revealing it feels less like a holiday and more like she's been given a new home for a whole year.

It is this emphasis on youth that has attracted new members to the local club, with 33-year-old Grant Jupe already holding the title of former president.

"It has been an absolute privilege, it's a great organisation and it does a lot of great things in the community and I'm very proud to be part of this group," he said.

Mr Hobden said he felt the future of Rotary was very safe with the likes of Mr Jupe coming through, adding that he believes he could be a future district governor, and admits he wishes there were a dozen more like him within the club.

Their ongoing sizeable contribution to the community, including the tens of thousands they raise annually via their golf day, will ensure the club stays in the minds of locals as they transition to the next generation, and begin to look towards their century.

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