Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (11:13): Today, I would like to pay tribute to some members of my community in Paterson who are truly deserving of recognition. Last Saturday, I was honoured to give the toast to the Lions Club of Raymond Terrace as they celebrated their 60th birthday. The international Lions Club has 45,000 members, and it is always inspiring to spend time with people who are in service to others. The Lions Club of Raymond Terrace was formed in September 1956 and has given countless hours in the service of our town and community, whether it be at the driver reviver—when people pull over in the busy times of Easter or Christmas, which gives them a chance to have a cuppa and refresh—or providing funds to many worthwhile causes.
In 2015 alone, they provided a portable ultrasound machine for the Mater Hospital's oncology unit and contributed a donation of $100,000 to people affected by the flooding in Dungog—a sizeable amount of money for such a small group of people. Lions also support young people and, as a former Lions Youth of the Year, I can attest to the skills and experience that that fantastic arrangement gives to young people, such as I was in the eighties. When we lead such busy lives, it is important to recognise an organisation that fosters service to others. Thank you to the Lions Club of Raymond Terrace.
I would also like to congratulate and wish a hearty bon voyage to some young Maitland soccer players and their parents who are off to Amiens in France on Friday. The busload will leave their home ground in East Maitland on a pilgrimage to mark the route their forefathers took 100 years ago, when Maitland's own 34th Battalion set out in 1916 to fight World War I. The 34th Battalion of coalfield lads and Maitland boys did us proud on the battlefields of the Western Front, receiving commendation for their valour. Apparently they also did us proud on the soccer field in a historic match between the 34th Battalion and the French aerodrome team of Amiens. The 17-year-old boys from my home town of Maitland and the coalfields will recreate that match. Congratulations to Ian Mather and his team for organising a trip of a lifetime to mark the sacrifice of a lifetime. Last week, I presented the players with Australian flags to take to Amiens and I could not help but look at their young faces and think back to the young faces of those boys we sent to war 100 years ago, and the men and women who go to war for us today. On that note, I would like to send my sincere thanks to our Defence personnel serving overseas this Christmas. We are incredibly proud and grateful for what you do. (Time expired)