Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell celebrated Children First Foundation’s 20th anniversary by inviting more than 60 rotary clubs throughout Victoria to a barbecue last week.

In 1999, Rotary District 9790 joined forces with Children First and Rotarian Noel Baker and his wife Janis, who donated 45 acres of their land to build a home for children to be looked after prior to undergoing surgery.

Twenty years on, the foundation is able to co-ordinate and support life-changing surgery in Australia for disadvantaged children from developing countries – before and after surgery.

“I remember when we first started development. There was a house in Bright, Victoria that was sent down by Rotarians to start us off in Kilmore East,” Mr Baker said.

“From there, volunteers built the entire house. People from all over the state helped build this place – we still receive wood from Euroa.

“It’s so wonderful to see all of us come together and have a laugh.”

Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell president Ian Dempsey said about 90 people joined the barbeque at Miracle sMiles retreat on May 21.

“It was a really fun night. Everyone seemed to be so happy and relaxed and having a bit of fun. That’s the main thing that rotary needs to be – fun,” he said.

“We had dropped off for a while but now the connection is back.”