Les Elvin posthumous award

The Rotary Club of Cessnock presented two Paul Harris Fellowships last Thursday night. The late Les Elvin was represented by his family to receive the highest award that Rotary can bestow. The award can be to a member of Rotary or someone that the club holds in high regard. 
The Paul Harris Fellow is named for the founder of Rotary. He and three business associates had the first meeting in Chicago in 1905. The Paul Harris Fellows was established in his honour in 1957 to express appreciation for the contribution to the humanitarian and educational programmes of The Rotary Foundation. These programmes include an array of projects that save and invigorate the lives of people around the world and enhance international friendship and understanding.
Foundation programmes provide educational opportunities, food, potable water, health care, immunisations and shelter for millions of persons. These activities are funded, implemented and managed by Rotarians and Rotary Clubs around the globe.
Rotarians award a Paul Harris Fellow to recognise a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives and mission of The Rotary Foundation to build world understanding and peace.
Uncle Les Elvin (as he was known to many), who passed away unexpectedly 16thAugust 2015, aged 77, not long after his seventy-seventh birthday. Uncle Les was an Aboriginal elder, an Wonnarua man, the first elder of the Aboriginal peoples recognized broadly and warmly in our community. He worked hard to bring people together and close the divide that unfortunately still exists between our Indigenous first Australians and those who came here later. Les was a Wonnarua man who was proud of his Indigenous heritage and was always willing to share his culture and heritage with everyone. Les is survived by his wife, Jan, his three children and his seven grandchildren. Les was a well-respected Aboriginal elder, artist and teacher. In 2008 he won the Australian NAIDOC Aboriginal Artist of the Year award and has since designed a number of the Newcastle Knights Indigenous jerseys. In 2011 he became the fourth person and the first non-former mayor of Muswellbrook to receive the keys to the city. In 2012 he was named Cessnock city’s Citizen of the Year.
Graham Lidbury presented the PHF Award to the late Les Elvin’s family and outlined the importance that we as Rotarians hold this award and hence how highly our club and this community held Les as a very respected member of the Cessnock community.
A well-respected Aboriginal elder, artist and teacher, he has been remembered as a humble and generous man who touched the lives of everyone he met.
“Whatever he did he poured his heart into,” his daughter Lesley Salem said.