Executive Secretary 1989-2012
Marion worked as the Executive Secretary for RCW for over 22 years. She retired from the position on 19 March 2012, an event which was videod by the club for posterity.
Her involvement with Rotary started when her husband, Glynn, joined the Tawa club in 1972.
RCW has had a secretary since 1924 and only four have held the position since then. It’s a big, diverse job with lots of responsibility and it certainly keeps Marion’s plate full but nevertheless “it keeps me sane!” she laughs “and I do really enjoy it.”
But Marion was well familiar with doing the all-important behind the scenes and admin work “when my husband became the president of the Rotary club of Tawa, who do you think all the paper work fell to?” she jokes “I did a lot of the donkey work but I was happy to do it.”
Marion not only keeps the books for RCW but she is also heavily involved with the student exchange programme. “I’ve been on the district committee of the Australia – New Zealand student exchange since 2000,” she says “I can’t get off it!”
Throughout the years Marion has had many exchange students stay at her house and she loves to see how the kids learn to stand on their own two feet having done their own thing for a few months, “it’s really wonderful.”
When asked what she thought attracted her husband to Rotary Marion believes it was his love for doing things for other people. She and Glynn seem to embody the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” whether it was agreeing to be the Brownie leader for her daughters group so they could have a club or taking in exchange students, the Patchett’s were all about helping others.
“But you don’t do it for yourself,” says Marion “you do it for them.”
The annual jumbo tennis is another great RCW activity that Marion looks forward to “I took one look at the giant racquet and thought I’ll never be able to lift that! But it was lots of fun, but I did hurt my back a little!”
Marion’s favourite thing about being a part of Rotary is the fellowship. “Rotary is such a neat club,” she says “you make so many friends, even when people leave.” A moment that really signified the love and support of Rotary was when Marion’s husband died a few years ago. RCW rallied around her and helped her out. “We had over 400 people at the funeral,” she remembers.
“Rotary is like an extended family, there’s a lot of love and I don’t think you necessarily get the same kind of love and support in other clubs.”
After seeing this aspect of Rotary both of Marion’s sons have expressed their interest in joining Rotary somewhere down the track.
Marion has had the privilege of attending two Rotary International conventions – one in Singapore and one in Brisbane.
She’s made many friends through her travels and the RI conventions give her the opportunity to catch up with them and she plans on attending next year’s convention is Turkey to see many of them again.
The familiarity of Rotary members from all over the world coming together for a common purpose is something Marion finds really special about the conventions: “People are the same the world over,” she says “its mind boggling!”
Marion believes that the age level of the club has to be spread with young and old and it’s the changing age demographic that is brings up new perspectives, stirs up important questions about how the club functions and will ultimately keep things going.
“It really is such a great club,” says Marion “and I hope it stays around for a long, long time.”
Rotary has clearly been a very big part of her Marion’s life and it’s the unconditional love and support through good times and bad that keeps her coming back and striving to always give service above self.
Written by Vanessa Higham - Communications Intern 2011