Bob, Joyce and Barb with club president Harry Summers
The 2008 nominations of Barbara Gardiner and Joyce Summers led to a lot of discussion within the VRWC Committee because, as the club ByLaws stood at the time, these two ladies had not been financial members of the club for a period of 15 or more years so were not actually eligible for Life Membership.
The contribution of Barb and Joyce over a period of over 40 years had been so outstanding that the committee decided to expand the Life Membership criteria to include a new Honorary Life Membership category. This was passed at a committee meeting on 10 October 2008 and the way was clear to propose Barb and Joyce for Honorary Life Memberships.
Barbara Gardiner has been working alongside her husband Bob within the Victorian Race Walking Club since the early 1960's – a period of nearly 50 years. While not a club member during that time, her contribution has been outstanding and she has been a continual helping presence within the club.
Joyce Summers has also been working alongside her husband Harry within the Victorian Race Walking Club since the early 1960's. Although she has had a number of small breaks during that time, her contribution has been outstanding and she has been an almost continual helping presence within the club.
Barb and Joyce worked alongside Elsie Jacobson in the VRWC canteen as young mothers and enthusiastically threw themselves into club fundraising, organising club events such as dances, and supporting the walkers on race days.
For a period from the mid 1990s onwards, Barb and Joyce were the sole ladies working behind the scenes, running the canteen, organising raceday barbeques and organising large social events such as club dinners. If not for their ongoing efforts, the club might well have fallen on very bad times when the old clubrooms were demolished and we went through a period of reduced club membership and considerable soul searching
Much of the equipment we now take for granted has been purchased with funds raised by canteen sales. The goods were bought as cheaply as possible and then sold for a modest profit, gradually building up the canteen account. As soon as the account had a few thousand dollars in it, Barb and Joyce were keen to see it being used to purchase something of importance or need for the club.
They continues to work unceasingly for the club, even though they are well past any normal retirement age. Their Honorary Life Memberships are due recognition for a lifetime of service to the club.