Our guest speaker, PDG Terry Grant from the Rotary Club of Sunbury, and Chair of ARH spoke very eloquently of the history of ARH and its future.

Commencing in 1981, ARH has raised and spent $33m on its various projects. Terry did say they would have spent more as he’s very good at spending money, but they can only spend what they’ve got…a not so subtle hint that fund raising is very important to ARH.

ARH started as a project with the Rotary Club of Mornington, when Rotarian Ian Scott heard about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and was so moved that he decided something had to be done. As a start, $2m was raised to fight SIDS and in 1985 ARH was formed and has gone from strength to strength.
Rotary clubs across Australia have been aware of ARH and what it does and recently much has been done to raise the awareness of the public. The Winnebago ‘Rotary Health Safari’ trip received much publicity and we are now in the second year of the ‘Great Australian Bike Ride’. Hat Day is the largest fundraising initiative undertaken by ARH.

Recently discussions have started with the Australian Army with a view to the Army, RSL and Legacy all joining forces to create a Research Grant for those returned soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or PTSD. This grant is to be called the ANZAC PhD Scholarship and will be announced by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) in Sydney in December 2014.

Terry stressed how thrilled he was to be associated with such a hard working group who gave so generously of their selves and their time in running and administrating ARH. His tenure of office finishes this year but he looks back on his seven years involvement, including the last three as Chair, with pride and satisfaction on a job well done.

Our sincere congratulations go to Terry for his work, and through a fund raising on the night we were able to hand across a cheque for $742 to ARH. As Rotarians we should all feel good that Rotary encourages Clubs to have a Hat Day as an easy and fun way to contribute funds to mental health research through ARH.

Initiatives like Hat Day go a long way to destigmatise mental health which is means a lot to people affected, their families and mental health professionals.

The night finished with a judging of the hats, the three themes being Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Winners were:
Yesterday: Lois Sparke (RC Rosanna),
Today: Koi Nemiro (visitor),
and Tomorrow: Di Cahill (RC Greensborough Central)

Reporter (Acting): Don Hamilton