I was first introduced to Peter Shipp when I was inducted as a member of the Rotary Club of Holdfast Bay in December 1988; Peter was Club President during the 1987-88 Rotary year.
My first impressions of Peter was a person with strong character and leadership skills who enjoyed the company of his fellow Rotarians whilst planning the development of programs that would benefit members of the wider community.
After being elected as District Governor Nominee (DGN) in 1999 one of the tasks I faced was identifying a Rotarian who would be the Conference Chair during my term as DG in 2001-02. It didn’t take long to decide on Peter for the role and I was delighted when he accepted the position. Every aspect of the Conference was covered in minute detail by Peter and his committee and the ultimate success of that Conference was due in no small way to the dedication and commitment Peter gave to all the tasks involved in planning such an event.
We worked closely together in the following years and I believe we developed a mutual respect for each other as well as a close friendship. Peter got his own back on me when he became DGN in 2006. He approached me and indicated he was “calling in outstanding favours” and asked me to be his District Secretary. How could I have refused such a generous invitation?
Peter certainly had an ability to lead from the front. He never requested others to perform tasks that he himself was not prepared to do. His total dedication to Rotary International, The Rotary Foundation and its programs was an inspiration to all whom he came in contact with. His total focus during his term as DG was to improve the administration aspects of the District as well as ensure all Clubs were treated as important as each other regardless of size of membership. He always made himself available to visit Clubs or offer advice when needed.
It was during his term as DG that Peter became aware of the illness that would eventually impact his quality of life. In January 2009, following advice from his doctors Peter expressed his concern to me that he may not be able to fulfill his great desire of completing his term as DG. I assured Peter that if necessary I could rally the required number of his Rotary friends within the District to ensure he achieved his goal.
History now shows Peter not only completed his term of office with distinction but refused to give in to his illness despite the opinions of the treating medical advisers.
During my regular visits to Peter over the past twelve months I became aware of another of Peter’s attributes – his determination to fight against the odds. Two things particularly stood out to me during this time and are what I believe kept Peter going; one was his total love of Judy and his family, the second his ongoing enjoyment of being a Rotarian.
FAREWELL DEAR FRIEND.
REST IN PEACE