Balgowlah Rotary Awards Night

Each year the Rotary Club of Balgowlah, awards members of the local community for the work they have done in promoting and exhibiting high levels of commitment in the areas of Community Service and Vocation.

This was a truly great night where we as a club had the honour and pleasure of awarding various members of our community with Rotary Awards marking the difference they make in the local community or vocations that they work in. A total of 10 awards were presented -  two (2) Youth Awards to younger people nominated by their school; then four (4) Small Business Awards, two (2) Pride of Workmanship Awards and two (2) Community Awards to round out a night thoroughly enjoyed by Awardees and attendees alike. Rotary Balgowlah have been holding award evenings for almost 40 years.

We had eighty-five (85) attendees at the event at held at Wakehurst Golf Club. The people attending consisting of Awardees, Parents Partners and Friends along with Rotarians and their partners. The food and service were excellent and everyone enjoyed a great evening applauding the awardees as they received their awards. Whilst Covid19 restrictions were observed on the night, this function providing an opportunity to enjoy an evening out was an added bonus.

Mayor Michael Regan giving the Address

The Mayor of Northern Beaches Council, Michael Regan gave a great address on the benefits of community that Rotary and other service organisations provide, especially with Covid19 restrictions that have been limiting almost all activity since March. His words about remaining positive about each of our futures made a truly great impact. Mayor Michael was unfortunately on crutches due a broken ankle, however soldiered on throughout the evening.

Other important guests included Councillor Stuart Sprott who represented our local MP, James Griffin. Councillor Sprott read a touching great message that was sent by James Griffin about Balgowlah Rotary Club and its valuable contribution to the community that had been tabled in State Parliament. 

Jean Hay AM (Last Mayor of Manly 2008 -2016) and David Hay (Former Liberal member for Manly and Mayor of Manly on six occasions) both long-time strong supporters of our club attended together with Rotary Assistant Governor, Beaches – Johanna Johns.

The night commenced with the awarding of the Youth Awards to the following:

Ruby Nelson from Manly Vale Public School

Ruby was nominated by her school’s Deputy Principal, Sharon Oscroft for being an outstanding student who always demonstrates exceptional civic and citizenship. Her Year 6 teacher, Nicole Blackband said Ruby always puts others before herself and consistently demonstrates the ability to mentor other students, but also through the school’s buddy program. Ruby is the quite achiever and is a beautiful, caring and thoughtful young person. Her teachers are honoured and feel privileged to be part of Ruby’s schooling journey.

Ruby and her proud family

Piper Harrison from Northern Beaches Secondary College – Mackellar Girl’s Campus sn

Piper was nominated by Samantha Coles, Relieving Head Teacher Secondary Studies and Emma Adams her PDHPE Teacher. Piper, is school captain and has made a significant contribution to the school during her years at Mackellar. Piper is a highly academic student who has received commendations in a range of courses and a very capable sports woman – representing school and state in many competitions.

Piper has led various fundraising and community initiatives including Mahboba’s Breakfast, a fundraising event that raises money for girls’ education in Afghanistan. She has also attended Manly Council’s Meals on Wheels event to connect with the elderly community in Manly. She is a volunteer life saver at Manly Life saving Club, a member of Warringah Youth Ambassadors’ program run by Zali Steggall OAM and has organised the collection of swimwear and swimming equipment for Water Safety Vietnam. She truly is an asset to our community.

Emma Adams (teacher) , Piper Harrison and her Dad, Russell Harrison














 Both Youth Awardees were presented with a certificate and Book Voucher by Michael Regan, the vouchers were very kindly donated by John and Debbie Darragh. 

Our next awards were for Small Business and we had four successful awardees:

Bimmertech – Matthew Kane nominated by Rick Van Brugge and presented by Stuart Sprott

In 1987 Matthew started a specialised Automotive service Business dedicated to BMWs. This was based on Spit Road in Mosman.  In the early 1990s, he then moved to into his own premises in Balgowlah. Most of Matthew’s customers have been with the business for many years since he ensures they fully understand the work involved and always works to attain the best most cost-effective solutions to car repairs & maintenance.

Matthew outside his business, Bimmertech
Over the years he has had many apprentices and trains mechanics in the specialised diagnostic and servicing equipment used for all BMW models and he maintains a modern servicing bay and work-area. Many of his customers prefer the personalised service and ways of keeping the car reliable but not breaking the bank, unlike many dealerships which frequently strive to maximise servicing department revenue.

Matthew Kane

 Taste of Belgium – Didier Lannoote nominated by Graham Evans and presented by Stuart Sprott

Didier has run the business since 2010 when he converted what was previously a Real Estate office into the café, shop and kitchen/food preparation area. He operates Taste of Belgium along with a night shift of 6 staff members, who prepare the pastry and bakery goods, and has a large clientele from a Seaforth and adjoining suburbs, due to the inviting atmosphere of the establishment; together with the exceptional quality and taste of his home-made Belgian chocolates, waffles, continental breads, cakes and pies. Didier does all the baking and finishing of the many delicacies on offer.

Didier (center) being presented with his awrds by Cnr Stuart Sprott (right). Graham Evans  (left) gave the inroduction
Didier's life in catering and restaurant management covers many years, after working in Washington ,including White House state dinners, Didier came to Australia in 2001 and was senior chocolatier at Belle Fleur Chocolat in Rozelle plus was a teacher and examiner for Cordon Bleu courses at TAFE and other training establishments. All of his exceptional talents are now being applied to the amazing food, sweets and ambience at a Taste of Belgium.


Nerina’s Bellezza Face and Body– Nerina Musumeci nominated by Helen and Roger Gray and presented by Jean Hay AM.

Nerina came to Australia from Sicily with her family at the age of 11. Because she had no English, the nuns put her into a kindergarten class. However, this did not hold Nerina back and she completed high school and initially did a business course and became PA to a bank manager. In 1985 she graduated from Beauty School with distinction and began part time work while bringing up her two young children. In 1987 she started her own business at the Totem shopping centre and built up the business to employ three therapists. In 2003 when Totem was demolished Nerina and her staff moved to Seaforth. Due to family circumstances Nerina’s daughter Linda now manages the salon.

Linda (left) Nerina being presented with the award by Jean Hay AM

To quote Nerina: “During these years I have met the most amazing and loyal clients and have made wonderful friends and connections who I shall always cherish. I have truly loved my work and that is mainly because of my wonderful, loyal and supportive clientele who I dearly miss”.  It is no wonder some of Nerina’s clients have been loyal to the business for over 35 years.

Ink & Press Cafe´ – Frank Ling nominated by Paul Apps and presented by Jean Hay AM

Frank converted the existing newsagency premises to a café and opened the business in February 2017. He retained some postal facilities and newsagency functions such as newspapers, Lotto etc. which have been a boon to local residents. When we spoke to Frank he told us that he wanted to cater for the needs of the community in the broadest way with a one-stop shop, since for about 10 years prior he ran a successful business across the street in Sydney road and understands the basic community needs in the area.

Frank Ling being awarded by Jean Hay AM

Both Frank and the business continued to prosper and serve the local community mainly as a result of his friendly and service-oriented style and confident and positive personality. He has provided opportunities for young people to work in the café and all speak highly of the friendly and supportive environment he has provided.

Small Business Award Winners  (left to right) - Frank Ling, Matthew Kane,  Nerina and Linda Musumeci  and Didier Lannoote.

Pride of Workmanship had two (2) successful awardees

Stephanie Hopkins – Arranounbai School nominated by Roger Gray and presented by Johanna Johns

Stephanie has been a passionate educator for over 25 years. Her teaching experience spans all ages Kindergarten to year 12 in both Australia and in the U.K. and includes a variety of roles, specialising in Gifted and Talented students as well as those with special and higher needs. She was an Assistant Principal of Hebersham (Mt Druitt) Public School where she fostered a program within a behaviour unit. Stephanie found her calling in special education when she moved to Arranounbai School in 2013 and where she is currently Principal. She relishes all her teaching interactions but none more than as Principal at Arranounbai. It is her wish to be a part of delivering the highest quality of care and education to these children, whilst promoting greater understanding and inclusion in the broader community.

Stephanie being presented with her award by Johanna Johns

One has only to visit the Arranounbai School, as a number of this Rotary club members have done over the past few years to understand just how demanding but also rewarding it must be to contribute to the education and development of these often extremely handicapped children with their diverse and special needs. Stephanie is supported by a great team of specialist teachers and volunteers. To attend a school assembly, observe the children, the way they contribute to the event and the way the staff and volunteers give support and encouragement is a testament to Stephanie’s leadership and pride of workmanship.

Glen Hickey Wakehurst Golf Club nominated by Michael Mead and presented by Johanna Johns

Glen Hickey is the retiring General manager of Wakehurst Golf Club, after 19 years in this position and longer service in other roles at the club he is moving to Port Stephens and taking a well-earned break. The club under Glen’s guidance and management has had an amazing record of growth in membership, refurbishment and extensions to the club and dramatic improvements and upgrades to the course and facilities. He has always applied a “can-do” attitude and gives 110% of times energy and effort to his role at Wakehurst.


Glen Hickey (left) being presented by Johanna Johns

From 2014-2019, Glen also worked as CEO of Fred Huntley Village at Allambie Heights. During that time, he negotiated a new 50-year lease with the Crown for the 120-pensioner resident facility and also initiated a $4 million refurbishment of the Village. 

In his position as General Manager of the Wakehurst, Glen has encouraged the club to contribute and support many not for profit and local organisation, junior sporting teams, local schools and surf life-saving clubs and charity fund raisers. He was instrumental in Wakehurst raising funds for the Manly Warringah War Memorial Trust allowing to build their remembrance monument on the shore of Manly Dam. Our Rotary club have had incredible support and assistance from Glen & the club in moving our annual Golf day to being held here at Wakehurst with huge assistance with the planning and conduct of the event. 

Community Service Awards had two (2) successful awardees.

Community Award winners Harvey Broadbent (left) and Jayson Elkins (right)
Harvey Broadbent AM – 3rd Age Rock Orchestra. Nominated by Sue Terry and presented by Michael Regan

Harvey Broadbent AM is the founder and Leader of the 3rd Age Rock Orchestra. This amazing group in our local community started only two and a half years ago. The orchestra plays Rock and Roll numbers, has 38 members who play a wide variety of musical instruments (even a French horn) together with 5 female singers all on a voluntary basis and supports dances and events mainly on the Northern Beaches.

Harvey Broadbent AM recieves his award from Michael Regan

Harvey arranges all the songs and numbers for the group, prints distributes the music for the various instruments then conducts the practices and the events. The group have performed at a number of events: Balgowlah Rotary held its 2nd ROCK & ROLL Dance night in March thanks to the efforts of Harvey and the group. All pro bono.

The fun and enjoyment that have been generated in our community by Harvey freely and persistently giving both his time and talents to the 3rd Age Rock Orchestra is acknowledged in part by this Community Service award.

Jayson Elkins – Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club nominated by Alois Lechner and presented by Michael Regan

Jayson Elkins is the competition and coaching Director of Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club. Jayson has been associated with the club for almost 40 years.

Jayson voluntary and tirelessly devotes his spare time to helping children and young adults in becoming competent with surf craft, competitions and training, professional development, and education. Jayson also directs the Rubber Ducky Inflatable Rescue Boats events and training that materially develops and improves the highest levels of surf beach safety and rescue - much of the training occurs in winter and the off-season.

Jayson Elkins with Michael Regan

In presenting the award, the club wishes to acknowledge Jayson’s encouragement, promotion and administration of surf lifesaving throughout the local community and in particular, the prevention of the loss of life by the study and practice of life saving and first aid together with considerable time he devotes fostering, regulating, organising and managing assessments, competitions and other activities and to appropriately recognise successful members.


All Small Business, Pride of Workmanship and Community Service Award winners were presented with a plaque commemoration of the occasion.

It was a great night that showcased the extraordinary youth, business and community spirit and talent we have in our midst. They were all thoroughly congratulated by all attendees for well-deserved awards.

We should like to thank our president Lindy Myers, John O’Brien (all the great photos), Ian Grayburn, Sue Terry, Graham Evans, Roger Gray, Paul Apps and the Golf Club functions team, especially Katja Wong, for their hard work and great assistance in organising this event.

Michael MEAD

Community/Vocational Service Director


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