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President’s Message 31 August 2020

September is upon us, and Spring is in the air. Our club is busily working behind the scenes for charities and our club in general, and I thank those who have been putting so much effort into these projects. We have now promoted ourselves in the Bush Tele with this terrific banner sponsoring the Community Diary Dates. Thanks to Gail and Bobby for organizing this.

 Last week we were fortunate to hear from Dr Gaynor Heading. Dr Heading gave a very informative, in-depth talk about Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. We were shocked to hear that more than 10% of the population is estimated to have this and it was often misdiagnosed as other issues. We have been so lucky to have such quality speakers come to our club as guest speakers, and we were happy to have Dr Heading’s sister Leonie Robison join us as a guest.

As you are all aware, Leonie is a wonderful artist who is currently exhibiting her work. If you can get along to the exhibition, the details are below. It would be wonderful to support Leonie as she has been such a strong supporter of Rotary. The exhibition closes Sunday 6th September.

 Local Hero!

We were excited to learn that Rotarian Wendy Escott has been nominated as a top 6 finalist in the Westfield Local Hero Awards.

After almost 20 years of teaching art at the Clarke Road Special School, Wendy Escott OAM decided to do something about the lack of meaningful opportunities for talented artists when their student days were over.

In 2000, Wendy teamed up with her good friend Sue Byatt to co-found the non-profit Studio ARTES to meet the whole-of-life and artistic needs of adults with disabilities.

They started in a double garage in Hornsby with no funding, 16 keen members and six volunteers. Twenty years later, there are more than 260 members and 100 staff across sites in Hornsby, Crows Nest and the inner west.

Although semi-retired, Wendy serves on the Board of Studio ARTES and runs weekly literacy and numeracy classes.

Other programs include visual arts, photography, music-making, drama, dance, multimedia, cooking and video production.

“As we grew in numbers, we grew as a community,” says Wendy. “Being part of the community prevents feelings of isolation for adults with disabilities.”

Wendy’s dedication and lifetime contributions have been rewarded with an Order of Australia, a Centenary Medal and being Hornsby Citizen of the Year in 2009.

However, she says, her greatest pleasure has been to witness the wonderful growth and achievements of adults with disabilities over the past 20 years.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Wendy is successful, Studio ARTES will use its grant to help compensate for the burden and extra costs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Wendy’s nominator says: “Wendy never takes no for an answer and has created an incredible legacy for people with a disability, in an environment focused on potential, reaching goals, creativity and supporting each other.”

This is an exciting honour for Wendy and Studio Artes, an organisation that the Rotary Club of Hornsby District has been proud to support over the years.




Next week will be no set speaker, rather the Board directors will give brief overviews on what is happening behind the scenes for their portfolio. The following week we will have Michelle Westlund from the Social Impact E-Rotary Club speaking, with special guest Amanda Barnes joining us for the evening. It will be a very interesting night and I encourage everyone to come along for it.

In the meantime, have a wonderful week, stay safe and protect yourself. Whilst we continue to maintain physical distancing, don’t social distance…. Look after yourselves and look after each other.

Have a wonderful week and keep looking for ways that Rotary can Open Opportunities!


Please remember to visit our website calendar for any upcoming events and speakers: