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Photo by Rotary Club of Mosgiel

In Memoriam - Lindsay Thorburn; PHF + Sapphire pin

Fraser Ellis - Rotary Club of Mosgiel —

"His desire to do good for people through his membership of Rotary never waned."

Recently we lost a Friend and Fellow member of District 9980 to that insidious disease, Cancer. Lindsay Thorburn passed away on Friday 8th September after a short battle. Thorburn. God of Thunder he used to inform us. Viking Warrior he reckoned. But really he was just a gentle giant of a man. His desire to do good for people through his membership of Rotary never waned. Lindsay was a big man- but what a lot of you may not know, was that huge chest of his was there to contain a HUGE Heart. Lindsay was a man who both in his work life and private life spent a lot of time looking after others. He was often alongside people, watching over them, and when the time was appropriate stepping in to help, often very discreetly and unobtrusively. Many of you will have been touched by the Big Fellah at some time in your life, and you would be a rare individual if this connection had not been beneficial to you. Lindsay was never one to want to be “The President” of the Club. Preferred to get on and do things. Having said that, he did spend a stint as Assistant District Governor, a role he undertook with enthusiasm. He also spent many years on the selection team who interviewed and selected the Group Study Exchangees. These are young professionals Rotary send overseas for six weeks to see their jobs in far off lands. These activities took a lot of his personal time, and often at the expense of running his business.I think he saw his life – work or play - as helping people, so he never made a distinction.Lindsay was a person who could see a need and dwell on it briefly- and seek a solution.If you like, he would see the merit in a Project, and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Projects such as ShelterBox, Carisbrook and Fiji sum up this ethic.  Another case in point is the school our Club assisted in building in Fiji. The School have confirmed that they are naming the Information Room after Lindsay, and the plaque on the wall reads as follows-

This plaque is to recognise the enormous contribution LINDSAY THORBURN of DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND has made to the post TROPICAL CYCLONE WINSTON REBUILD of Lavena Primary School, Teachers' Houses and other Taveuni Schools. Without his energy and commitment so much would not have been achieved. 

And for this effort, Lindsay was awarded his second Paul Harris Fellowship – what we call a Sapphire pin which follows his original PHF which was for his contribution to setting up ShelterBox New Zealand. And I can tell you that even in his last days he was saying to me that we had unfinished business in Fiji. We must see what we can do to conclude that unfinished business.