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Congratulations to Stephen Skaleskog and Peter Pearce, who have recently been elevated to Life Member status. Stephen was presented with a certificate of achievement at the June club night, and Peter at the July club night. The guidelines for being awarded life membership are rigorous; they can be viewed (by members only) on the Honour Board page of this website. Here is what club president Brett Gamon had to say about Stephen and Peter when presenting them with a certificate of life membership achievement (slightly edited):

StephenLifeMember

Stephen Skaleskog joined the club in November 2003 and virtually right from the beginning, he started to take leadership responsibilities on behalf of WCV. Some of his more notable stats are….. leading over 120 walks, hosting two base camps, and at least ten restaurant nights.  He joined the WCV committee in 2004 as Vice President and in 2009 he was elected as President, a position which he continuously held until standing down in March 2019.

He also told me recently that he had participated in approximately 1350 Club walks and remarkably he said this figure does not include lookovers or mentoring. This would have to be an absolute record don’t you think?

In my case, I have been fortunate enough to work with Stephen fairly closely and I have observed that he possesses the extraordinary capacity to have his finger on the pulse of the Club at all times. I cannot recall a question he has not been able to thoughtfully and accurately answer for me. He has always been readily prepared to help and to think of others before his own self-interest. I have found Stephen to be a thoroughly inclusive person with a strong sense of fairness and a welcoming demeanor. These are probably major contributing factors to the Club’s growth over recent years. In my case, over the last few years, I have been able to call Stephen at various times of the day or night to ask him myriad questions relating to matters such as Walk conditions and recommendations, Club guides, insurance issues, annual statements, accounting questions and so on.

In summary, Stephen has given his all to the  Club and his service clearly goes beyond the ordinary or even the excellent over an extended period of time.

 

PeterLifeMember

Peter Pearce has been with the Club continuously since 25 July 1990, and we can’t recall a time when he didn’t lead Club events.  Peter now has such a reputation for leading exciting extended events around Australia and New Zealand that they book out within hours of notice. For some years he was known as the Saturday cycling leader and more recently orchestrated the Wednesday walking program to the point that it is the most popular part of the walking week.

Extended events were typically cycling in wine regions such as Avoca, Rutherglen, McLaren Vale, or the Barossa Valley; or walking weeks to Tasmania and Sydney (both multiple times), Adelaide and Auckland. He has even been known to lead a pack-carry within a base-camp walking event at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains. The pack-carry was to complete the missing link in a three-day walk between Katoomba and the Jenolan Caves. Week-long events were often planned over Melbourne-cup week, and a quirk of his planning was to always pass a country pub or a beachside pub around cup-time, so the group could catch the live cup telecast.

His Club contributions don’t stop at walks and rides. Peter has been a regular in attending Thursday Club-night meetings, helping to ballast the Club during a period when membership was dwindling about twenty years ago. Along with his wife Cathy, they have often opened their home to Club events such as the mid-winter Christmas dinner. Clubs such as the WCV are builders of what sociologists call “social capital”, which helps bond and uplift people. Peter’s time with this Club has been one of generously giving to that end.

We went through Peter's records from 2004 and they are really staggering. Peter has led 91 walks, 9 Base camps,42 Bike rides, and 6 mid-winter Christmas events. He has also hosted at least 14 Restaurant nights, together with various Friday Lunches. He has been a past member of the WCV Committee and he continues to fill the roles of Wednesday Walks Coordinator, WCV Librarian, and  Photo Competition Coordinator.  He also assists the website manager by regularly uploading walk photos to the club's website. I think you would all agree these statistics are truly extraordinary.

On a more personal note, I have had the opportunity to get to know Peter quite well during my time at the club and I have found him to be always helpful, happy to share his knowledge, always constructive and thoughtful of others. He is also a breathtakingly efficient organizer and an outstanding family man.