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Strathfield Christmas Carols  2019

prepared by PP Raymond McCluskie (chair)

What a team effort... really in the face of adversity (venue fire bans, weather, bushfires, smoke) we pulled off a spectacular Rotary event as part of Strathfield Christmas Carols  2019. We played our role to the fullest. This was due to the work of the  Committee: President Arie Pappas; PP Peter Smith; PP Rick Vosila; Rtn Andrew Aravanis; IPP Charles Pitt; Rtn Nella Hall; Rtn Trudy Ho and PP Raymond McCluskie (Chair) and our additional Rotarian helpers on the day

We worked well with Council; a great partnership. Council's Naomi Searle Executive Manager with her team including the event manager Ayla Karabulut made the event happen. We even had a draft MoU which could be developed further and enshrine our place in the Carols as the Rotary Club of Strathfield has evolved this event and developed over the years and into the future.

President Arie Pappas had a stroke of genius in selecting 'drought relief' as our Charity. It inspired the Council. They prepared promotional material and  our own Rotarian member  councillor past mayor Gulian Vaccari put up motion not only for Council to support our charity but also to make a special donation. Clearly, it tugged at the hearts of the attending public with their purchase of raffle tickets (Rick Vosila's innovative presentation also helped).

The best dressed award went to Nella Hall; Nella as a Strathfield Councillor, had a role on stage and was dressed to wow the audience (or maybe it was for her husbandís birthday party taking place later in the night) but Nella looked resplendent as assistant cashier to Charles Pitt. Charles will report to Rod McDougall our treasurer the details of takings.

Our really hard workers. Our Rotary team that makes things go:

  • On the BBQ: Keith Byrne, Bill Carney, Roy Ellis, Mathew Elias, 
  • On sales: Usha Garg, Marvin Manrique and Kimberly, Dimitry Palmer, Peter van der Sleesen
  • Cashier: Charles Pitt who makes it all look easy, had Janice Vince and Nella Hall to assist. 
  • Appearing in different guises were Roger Vince, Paul Anton and Olga Pitt
  • Raffle: Janice Barrett, Mira Carney and son Eric.

Well we set up our new marquee and what a beauty. It certainly stands out and promotes Rotary. The Council also helped providing us with promotional material reflecting the spirit of Christmas.


What would we do without the 3 knights errant Peter Smith, Andrew Aravanis and Rick Vosila. Just special people.

  • Peter Smith who made sure the operations actually worked. He does so much, drags in the marquee and all the bits and pieces plus the two BBQ are a complex setting up procedure. Poor Peter having started out early found that the trailer had been broken into, but the thieves abandoned their nefarious activity when they found some tomato sauce bottles instead of tradesman tools. So, after spending a twelve-hour day he returned home only to find the Graffiti removal trailer had been graffitied (a warped sense of humour). Peter got up and cleaned the next day  (he had the equipment)

  • Andrew Aravanis the BBQ organising specialist. Making sure we have all the food and most importantly that we comply with Council regulations....so many signs and bits of equipment. Have you ever thought just what Andews work entails? Andrew has the best technique of letting you know. At 2:00 pm on Saturday he texted me with his apology saying that because of an emerging family situation he couldnít make the carols. He wished me good luck. Beads of sweat as I pondered weak and weary of what needed to be done. Contingency plan???? Then another text..."Just joking." 

  • Rick Vosila bubbled along. He organised 25 raffle prizes, had a team of sellers, a barrel that rotated and when the clip on the trapdoor broke, tickets spewed out but it was all ajusted. When somebody insisted that a drawn ticket number wasnít recorded Rick was able to give them a prize anyway. Rick was on stage with Arie and a great Rotary presentation. More later. But Rick cool under pressure. Mr fixer.


In all of this we had our 'moments'...the footy passing competition with lots of us when Bill Carney's son Eric brought a football; and bowling at the nets: Roy Ellis topped that one. 

There was the family element: to enjoy the Carols Mathew and Navya Elias brought their children and Keith and Sue Byrn brought their grandchildren. To help at our Rotary Marquee Roger Vince brought Janice, Marvin brought Kimberly, Bill Carney brought Mira and his son Eric and Charles Pitt brought Olga.

The most innovative occasion was the Arie and Rick Vosila team effort on stage. As an introduction to the Carols there was an opportunity for Arie to talk about Rotary. He upstage everyone within a short time frame of 4 minutes. Arie and Rick provided a Q&A session: short questions with pithy answers about Strathfield Rotary; so local, so articulate, so clear and so positive. Well done.

A resounding fellowship success that was eventually all packed up at 10pm.


We  teamed up with Strathfield Council to help out at the Strathfield Christmas Carols. The Rotary Club of Strathfield will be providing a food stall and a raffle. There has been agreement with the Council that all the proceeds from the Strathfield Christmas Carols will go to the Rotary Clubs of Australia Drought Appeal (click).

We have lots to do !    Raffles    BBQ     Rotary Promotion



Helping Peter Smith (Operations) set up and pack away... BBQ and trailer, Marquee, Tables and Chairs, Lighting, promotional material, keeping up stall appearance (signs fallen and strewn rubbish), negotiating with council officers. Later someone for Apron laundry and utensil washing (see Peter)

Helping Rick Vosila (Raffle) Setting up raffle table (Prizes), selling tickets at stall, 'crowd mingling' to sell tickets, raffle ticket butts folding, listing prizes and winning ticket numbers

Helping Andrew Aravanis (Food) BBQ cooking (onion, sausages, vege patties, maintaining drinks esky, maintaining bread rolls and serviettes (continuous)., preparing burgers for sale bread roll, onion and sausage (continuous). Queue Manager accepting customer orders food and then directing to cashier team and raffle sales. Managing sales table: Drink display, sauces (bottles full), serviettes, signs, serving.

Helping Charles Pitt (Cashier) sales (food) $5 burger (sausage/vege patti) $2 drinks and also sales (raffle): tickets at stall and collection of money from 'crowd mingling' sales.


Helping President Arie Pappas (Rotary Information)








Rotary Clubs of Australia Drought Appeal  (click)



We have lots to do !    Raffles    BBQ     Rotary Promotion



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Last Update Saturday July 08, 2023