In a double celebration Sutherland Shire Canoe Club recently marked its 50th anniversary and the 90th birthday of one of its best-known and loved members, Bert Laurendet.
Bert and his wife Kaye, from Como West, are the club's longest continuously active members, having joined in June 1978. Both still play an active role in club activities, volunteering on events and sharing their skills and knowledge with the younger members.
Bert has been a regular competitor - and winner - at club, state, national and masters' level and at the age of 85, he was named PaddleNSW's Master Paddler of the Year.
The club was founded at a picnic in Prince Edward Park in Woronora in May 1972 by members of families from the area, all of whom were active with NSW Canoeing - while none of the founding members are still with the club, SSCC has been paddling the Woronora River ever since.
"A lot of hard work went into raising funds in those early years which allowed members to move into our clubhouse in 1980," says vice president, Annette Mathews.
Since those early days more than 1500 people have paddled with the club, with the current membership standing at 95.
The unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the Club's 50 years on the Woronora was done by Sutherland Shire Councillor, Peter Scaysbrook, and past President and Life Member, Bert Laurendet.
"We also planted five trees as a symbol of our past, present and future connection to the Burnum Burnum Sanctuary, the river and the local community," Annette said.
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