NB-Honorary Life Membership Awards

Northern Beaches
Honorary Life Membership Awards

Each year any of the Sydney U3A regions can nominate members for an Honorary Life Membership. These awards are approved by the Sydney U3A Board of Management and granted to members who have contributed enormously to the running of his/her region. The awards are presented at the Sydney U3A Annual General Meeting (with the exception of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions).

2022 – Ruth Buchanan

Ruth Buchanan

The Sydney AGM was held on Wednesday 30 March, at which Ruth Buchanan was awarded Honorary Life Membership.

In her introduction President Rosemary McCulloch outlined the great achievements and hard work undertaken by Ruth.

“I first knew Ruth as a very valued member of Northern Beaches U3A Committee when I was first President. As well as working hard, she had a way of bringing the members sitting round a table back to the matter in hand. Probably because of that ability more than any other she succeeded me as President ……. and then U3A really saw what she could do.

As well as the many venues that Northern Beaches U3A hires for its courses, Ruth thought that one large and varied place in a central position on the Northern Beaches would be something to aim for. A building that could accommodate many different sized groups, act as a storage place for equipment of all kinds and which would have within it a good-sized kitchen and an outside BBQ. The council owned Bowls Club at North Curl Curl didn’t immediately spring to mind as ideal when the Bowls Club closed – but Ruth had seen the potential. For weeks and months she battled with the Council to get things adapted to our needs and then to convince them that U3A should be allowed to hire the Community Centre for four full days every week. Nothing like this had been seen before – either by the council or by U3A.

I’m sure that I don’t need to explain to any of you how much additional work Ruth took on when, as Venue Coordinator, she started to create the manpower teams that needed to work at the Centre – moving chairs and tables many times in each day, providing refreshments for all the dozens of courses and, last but not least, booking dozens of speakers and leaders to fill every moment of those four days each week. I honestly don’t know how Ruth managed it all on top of her work as President.”

2021 – Ivy Edwards

At the Sydney U3A AGM, held on 24 March, Ivy Edwards was awarded Honorary Life Membership for her work as a Northern Beaches region committee member, Newsletter Editor and Publicity Officer for a period of nine years. In her early days in these roles, Ivy revolutionised the outlook and work of our Region with the result that our membership quickly doubled and then trebled.

Ivy Edwards (right) with NB President Rosemary McCulloch

No U3A could ever have a more inspired Publicity Officer. Ivy was alive to all the local, state and international opportunities for publicity. Ivy’s many new projects included encouraging our Region to take an active part in the Food and Wine and Local Volunteer Festival event at Winnererremy Bay on three occasions and arranged a table manned by our members to be visible at local shopping malls.

It was through her enthusiasm and planning that we hosted a celebratory breakfast to promote the United Nations International Day of Older Persons. Three eminent speakers gave their time and we hosted this event close to 1st October for three years in succession with an audience of over 100 people.

2020 – Rosemary McCulloch

Rosemary McCulloch

Congratulations to our President, Rosemary McCulloch, on being awarded Honorary Life Membership of Sydney U3A.

Rosemary began her U3A ‘career’ in the UK by running a local group in Stamford, Lincolnshire. After moving to Sydney she took on the role of President of the Northern Beaches region and has undertaken this role in two tranches, initially from 2010-2013 and currently from 2017. As well as being venue co-ordinator for the Narrabeen Tramshed and Lionel Watts Community Centre in Frenchs Forest Rosemary is also a leader/presenter of Tuesdays at the Tramshed, Fridays in the Forest, Music to Remember and Opera and Ballet on Sundays. Rosemary is also a regular presenter at various U3A groups across Sydney.

Rosemary’s enthusiasm for Northern Beaches U3A is infectious and the increase in members from 770 in 2009 until the present day membership of 1600 is a credit to her. She is a very worthy recipient of this award as a thank you for her dedication and long years of service to date …. and let us hope there are many more years to come.

2019 – Ian Thompson

Barbara Boston (Sydney U3A President) with Ian Thompson

At the Sydney U3A AGM on 20 March Ian Thompson’s commitment to both Sydney and Northern Beaches U3A was recognised with the well deserved award of Honorary Life Membership. Introduced by NB President, Rosemary McCulloch, Ian’s dedication to U3A was highlighted – his years as an active committee member, the long standing, ongoing science course at Warriewood, the many talks travelling over the Sydney region (particularly the most popular, about cockroaches of all things) and his many years editing the U3A Sydney course book.  Ian’s dedication to U3A is much appreciated and we hope he continues for many years in the future.


2018 – Barbara Potts

At the 30th AGM of Sydney U3A held on 22 March 2018, Northern Beaches member Barbara Potts was recognised with the award of Honorary Life Membership. Introduced by NB President, Rosemary McCulloch, as one thoroughly deserving for her dedicated involvement since joining U3A in 2005, Barbara has held many committee roles. In her modest acceptance, Barbara said the award was for all of those who work for maintaining the high standard we have come to expect from U3A.

In photo (from left to right):  Runa Schmidt-Muller, Barbara Potts, Tricia Haines, Brenda Fuller and Ann Hardiman – Out of shot: Ian Thompson, Rosemary McCulloch and Ivy Edwards