Murray Bridge 'Friendship Force' 35 years milestone celebration.

Past presidents of 'Friendship Force' Murray Bridge Des Zander, Lorraine Williss, Bob England, current president Graham Keller, June Bower, Faye Menadue and Allan Arbon.
Past presidents of 'Friendship Force' Murray Bridge Des Zander, Lorraine Williss, Bob England, current president Graham Keller, June Bower, Faye Menadue and Allan Arbon.

Members of the Murray Bridge Friendship Force gathered recently in the RSL to celebrate 35 years of activity in the district. It was recalled that this club started in 1983 as a project of the Mobilong Rotary Club.

During its history Murray Bridge has hosted hundreds of visitors from across the world including Taiwan, Germany and Indonesia and of course numerous groups from the USA and New Zealand. 

The club was pleased to welcome to the celebration former members including former president June Bowyer who has now moved from the district.

Highlights recalled included a visit from founding world friendship force president Wayne Smith who initiated the movement with a presentation to US president Jimmie Carter.

The club became intimately involved in the world conference planning which occured in Adelaide in 1990.

After a welcome from Adelaide Lord Mayor Contos a number of members attended the conference at the Hilton Hotel.

The local club probably achieved its highest national profile in 2000 as it welcomed nearly 300 visitors to the national conference in the Community Club.

Fond recollections are still shared of the adventurous delegates’s river boat trip to the Conference Fair at the Murraylands Aquatic Centre.

Offering hospitality with people yet to be met and maybe with language differences is often an adventure but almost always with happy endings.

Past president Allan Arbon paid a tribute to the passing at almost 100 years of Patron Lil Fiegert affectionately known as “Grandma”. Lil for many years was an active and generous friendship force supporter.

As members enjoyed the birthday cake cut by Ellie and Margaret Staiff they agreed that the club was continued in strength and looked forward to exciting opportunities to host or may be hosted in the future.