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15 September 2014

Helping Hands - an open letter from Jenny Milne

Dear Leon, Mary and Arlene


I first must apologise. Why might you ask, well because I promised to do something and didn't and it wasn't due to not wanting to do it, but just forgetting with all that is going on. What am I apologising for? Well, when there were emails doing the rounds about the Helping Hands trophy, I said to Jane that I would write a little ditty for the AGM to be read out before this trophy was presented, and as history retells, I didn't do that. So I'm sorry. I still wanted to write my thoughts and stories and send it to you, so I hope you are all sitting comfortably.

The Helping Hands Trophy is tonight presented to three very deserving individuals who don't think they are deserving. They will be sheepishly sitting in their chairs and believe that there are others in the room, more worthy.  This is not true. Tonight the Helping Hands Trophy is being presented to Leon and Mary Stelmach and Arlene Killoh.

For those of you that haven't seen them in action, or been involved with the behind-the-scenes work that has taken place over the last year, these three individuals have been a power of strength to many in this room. For a start on the committee, their support and enthusiasm has been well documented and infectious; our outgoing chair, I know personally has valued Leon and Mary's input and advice along the way, and finally for us ride organisers out there, these three have been a god-send. Not only have Leon and Mary run their usual event this year, but helped out at many others and from a personal perspective were the guiding hands and heads when pulling Mackie's together and solving many a crisis. (As an aside a big thanks also to Douglas and Jane for all their help!). Arlene hasn't had the opportunity to ride much this year so has given back much of her time to help with vetting, organising routes and being a part of my Mackie's team that finalised the Southside section of the ride. The three of them came together to organise, at short notice, the Archaeolink ride and what a success they made of that. If you want to call the A-team, they should be there.

How many times have people in this room heard, either Leon or Mary say, "but we're retired folk, we have time".  I for one have heard it several times but one occasion sticks in my mind.  It was the Monday before Mackie's and we were joined by Sue Duncan to go and mark out the route.  Mary and I were in my jeep, and Leon and Sue on her quad, in what can only be described as horrific rain and wind. Leon was jumping off and on the quad, Mary in and out of my jeep.... later over a cuppa both come out with the "but we're retired folk, we have time" line, to which my reply was "retired, so you have full diaries and better things to be doing". Arlene on the other hand is very good at saying that she doesn't want to be involved in something, but then is very happy to help and will text or call accordingly.  I'd hate to clock up the number of hours these three have dedicated to the branch this year but I know from Mackie's alone, Leon and Mary won't have change out of 60hrs a piece and Arlene won't be far behind.

So - a heartfelt “Thank You” from me and all the others that are sitting in the room that you have helped, and I challenge you all to see how many times you hear Mary and Leon's sound bite next year and how many times you see Arlene helping at events!