Milton Branch News – 2023 Legends Dinner

Wendy Buckingham

First published Mid North Coast Branch Newsletter No. 104, July 2023. Reprinted with permission.

One of the highlights of our year is the annual Legends dinner. This is where members gather to honour those who have made outstanding contributions to Milton NPA as activity leaders, committee members and organisers. It is also an opportunity to have a great meal and a good time!

Once again, this year it was generously hosted by Barry and Penny Tomkinson at their lovely Little Forest Home.

Especially challenging was managing the carefully kept secret, that they were to also be honoured as this year’s legends. A delicate balancing act!

The Legend award was beautifully introduced by Helen Moody, another outstanding NPA member and co- author of the amazing South Coast Islands book.

She told us that, at the time Barry and Penny arrived in Little Forest, the Milton branch had lost a lot of its conservationist thrust and was in danger of becoming just a walking group.
When a new president was needed, Barry stepped up to the task.

It quickly became apparent that he had lots of conservation experience and contacts, from the work he had done with STEP in Turramurra.

Together, Barry and Penny raised the activity level and public profile of NPA Milton and broadened its scope of activities and conservation involvement.

Barry was an outstanding president of NPA for many years. He came in at a time of hiatus and took the Milton NPA to a whole new level of innovation and inclusion. And Penny’s unstinting support and involvement with NPA members and events is legendary. Her smile alone lights up any room she is in and makes any walk with her just that more enjoyable.

This year’s theme was Portuguese and the volunteer cooks inspired and coordinated by Megan Humphries did an amazing job of providing entrees, mains and deserts. We were treated to some delicious Portuguese inspired dishes including, of course, those iconic mouth-watering tarts! Yum!

And the wines too, all from Portugal, kept up the spirit in more ways than one. And, of course, the dinner could not happen without the help of those wonderful NPA members who volunteered to help set up the tables, cook and clean up.

The celebration of their achievements was not complete until Kevin Richards had delivered a magnificent song dedicated to them both to the tune of Click Goes the Shears and a heartfelt poem, The Man from Yackungarrah.

As always, the 2023 dinner was a resounding success and, as well as having a good time, we raised funds for the branch which will go to a special project.

The Man From Yackungarrah

Kevin Richards

There was gloominess at Milton when the president stepped down,
And alarm bells rang around the NPA.
We’d checked out so many sources, but no volunteer was found …..
It seemed the branch was just about to fray.

All the tried and noted leaders who had held the post before,
Had earned a time of rest and sweet respite.
Could we ever find that someone: focussed, diligent and sure?
Then Barry grabbed the bridle with delight.

He hailed from Little Forest, down by Yackungarrah’s side.
Where the hills are steep and phone reception poor.

But determined and undaunted: ‘To the summit, folks’ he cried,
He dragged our waning fortunes off the floor,
And he led us single-handed with his use of pen and phone,
Dispatching correspondence in his stride,

Now we’re headed to a new dawn where our membership has grown,
And we thank you, Barry: we enjoyed the ride.

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