31 December 2007

Farewell Gordon Fenwick, Aus IFCR pioneer

Julie Fenwick has advised that Gordon had a massive heart attack and subsequently passed away yesterday (Saturday). On behalf of our Australian IFCR members I convey our sympathy to Julie and her loving family at this sad and difficult time.

We are all indebted to Gordon as he was clearly the founding father and driving force who started the Australian IFCR movement way back in 1993. Gordon was President and Secretary in the early years, organised and managed teams to England in 1994 and 1997, and witnessed the inaugural International Festival at Fordingbridge in 1997.

He was affectionately known as "The Colonel" to us touring Aussies. He set a high Rotary and personal standard to observe when touring and this has been upheld on all following tours.

Gordon became our first Life Member of IFCR Australia, and gained immense satisfaction in seeing the membership grow from 20 to well over 200 in Australia. We thank Gordon for planting and nurturing the seeds to make this growth possible.

I know many of our fellow International IFCR members who have enjoyed Gordon and Julie's friendship while on tour, and in their home at Adelaide, will be saddened by Gordon's passing. In the spirit of IFCR, we have shared many great times and good fellowship with Gordon and value his significant contribution to establishing IFCR in Australia.

Ian Petherick, Aus IFCR President

Read here the Obituary Notice from the 'Adelaide Advertiser'

A Very Personal Reflection on the Life of Gordon Fenwick

(From one who travelled with him several times)

IFCR Australia has been very fortunate in having as its foundation leaders men of the calibre of Gordon Fenwick.

They have set personal and Rotary standards at the highest level since the inaugural UK tour in 1994. Gordon was one of the old school, and a proper English gentleman, but respected and remembered fondly by those who toured under his management.

He was a stickler for punctuality, and correct and proper attire. An occasion on tour in 2001 typifies the respect shown to Gordon. Attendance at a church service was required, and knowing how religion features in Rotary, a fair few of us were planning an alternative activity. The afternoon before, when Gordon was checking numbers, he became aware of our proposed deviation from his itinerary.

He basically read the riot act. The next morning, everybody (bar one) turned out in their Number Ones, not out of any religious commitment, but out of respect for Gordon.

A browse through our photo albums shows Gordon in various poses over the years – a speaker at a formal IFCR dinner (several), on the sideline at a match, asleep at the end of a strenuous day, enjoying the fun of a fines session, with IFCR friends from Australia, New Zealand and the UK, at our Australian Festivals and reunions, giving us his own special tour of the Barossa Valley (the distance of which he knew precisely), and showing us his garden.

Gordon and Julie were the perfect hosts for any IFCR members who happened to be passing through Adelaide. In latter years, his attendance at IFCR events became more limited, but he was always there in spirit and always remembered kindly especially by those who had toured with him.

He was often referred to as “The Colonel”, and at one stage there was an attempt to promote him to Brigadier, but the old term of endearment stuck. Those who travelled with Gordon will always picture him in his mustard vest, as much a part of him as his IFCR tie and blazer. His meticulous preparation and attention to detail meant our tours were always well organised – and that he lumped around a briefcase full of paperwork.

We’ve been privileged to have known Gordon, and it will perhaps be difficult for more recent IFCR members to appreciate what an important part of our IFCR lives he became. He was important to the formal part of IFCR as he will always be regarded as its founding father in Australia, and as such, could be justifiably proud of the way it has developed in to such a wonderful fellowship, not just in Australia, but internationally.

Sadly, 2007 also saw the passing of two other integral members whose contributions to IFCR since its inception have likewise been significant and substantial – Peter Daly and Brian Morgan. Together with Gordon, they have been instrumental in the growth and strength of IFCR in Australia and New Zealand. As Past President of IFCR Australia, Don McQueen said, we must “now strengthen our resolve to continue on the pioneering work of these great IFCR stalwarts, to make our Fellowship even bigger and better than ever in their everlasting memory”.

Alison Petherick

John Dean (on behalf of NZIFCR) pays tribute to Gordon Fenwick

We salute Gordon Fenwick as he passes into the pavilion for the last time. ?Resulting from Gordon's ?early efforts on behalf of what became IFCR ?many of us have had our lives enriched through the benefit and enjoyment of membership of the wonderful IFCR.

The thoughts of all our New Zealand members are with you.

Perhaps C J Dennis that great Aussie honed in Adelaide poet said it all:

Leg Theory

Oh, what a pleasant game is life
When we are bravely batting
And glorying in skill and strife.
We scorn defensive patting
As Fate sends down the easy ones
We set the ball a-soaring
Straight to the fence and pile up runs
And go on scoring, scoring.

A week it lasts, a month, a year --
Ten years if luck holds steady
No crafty trick may wake our fear,
For every move we're ready
No matter how the ball is bumped.
We are so sure, so clever
We can't be caught or bowled or stumped
We're set!? We're in forever!

But comes a time, as I have found,
When in our carefree playing,
Life's game in this vast cricket ground
Grows suddenly dismaying.
Just as we think we're set to peg
Away, thro' centuries rolling,
Fate shifts his fieldsmen to the leg
And starts in body bowling!

And to paraphrase
To a Dead Mate

There's many fellows who drive today
In the lonely, far out-back;
There's many a man who makes his way
On a dusty bushland track;
There's many fellows in bush and tow
Who mourn for a good mate gone;
There are eyes grown sad and heads cast down
Since Gordon has passed on.

IFCR and mates are sad,
and the tears of bushwives fall,
For the kindly heart that Gordon had
Had made him loved of all.
There's many a fellow strives today,
True, goodwill fair friendset;
And thro' the land I hear them say:
"Pass, Colonel, to your rest."