Kerry and Peter Jenke are actively involved in Legacy, an organisation well known to all of us. This year marks the Centenary of Melbourne Legacy, the original Legacy Club and by association, of Legacy itself. It’s going to be a big year, and an extremely important one for the future of the organisation. Apart from the Jenkes, Steve Jones and Rick Davies are actively involved in Legacy and there could well be others. Peter previously sat on the National Board. Kerry is the first female President of Melbourne Legacy and the success or otherwise of the Centenary falls in no small way on her.
Legacy is also an organisation about to undergo massive organisational change. For most current Legatees, the only Legacy Beneficiaries they’ve known are largely the WW2 widows. Because our generation of ex-servicemen and women in the main didn’t have overseas operational service, until only about 15 years or so ago, we weren’t entitled to join Legacy. This has resulted in a generational gap which saw later generations of servicemen and women reluctant to join the organisation, thereby creating the situation we have whereby the average age of Melbourne Legacy Club members (Legatees) is around 75. Of around the 45 clubs Australia-wide, I’d be surprised if the average age was much different. This situation is further exacerbated by increasing government requirements which restricts the support which can be provided by volunteers (amateurs, if you like) and requires greater reliance on professional, paid staff – albeit, still under Legatee control and direction exercised through our Board. On Melbourne’s Board, chaired by Kerry, they are fortunate enough to have a current serving Maj Gen, the second such appointment they’ve been lucky enough to have.
Of course, shrinking Legatee numbers mirror the decline in likely beneficiaries because more recent conflicts have resulted in far less casualties and in families in need of Legacy assistance. But, of course, because of the need for professional assistance rather than that provided by volunteers, that support comes at a high price. This year’s Centenary provides an excellent opportunity to raise Legacy’s profile in an Australia which looks very different to that after the two World Wars and even after Vietnam. To that end, a Legacy Centenary Relay will be run, starting in Pozieres (in less than 100 days) and ends in Melbourne, leading into the Legacy Australia AGM and biennial Conference in October. The run is neither continuous nor demanding, but more of a photo opportunity to raise Legacy’s profile. There is already committed media and significant ADF support.
Peter will be participating in the Relay (and possibly the other Legacy classmates will be as well) and would like to seek sponsorship from any class members who might wish to do so. The mechanics have not yet been sorted, and while it might called a “sponsorship” in essence it will be a donation – Peter reckons that someone might like to sponsor him by the cm because the total distance of any participant is apparently about a km, and for most, considerably less. With two tin knees, he’ll only be walking!
We’ll post more information as it comes to hand.