CAN'T KEEP HIM DOWN: Even while in hospital for surgery, East Ballina Lion, Bob Morgan, was promoting sales of the Lions Hearing Dog Calendars.
CAN'T KEEP HIM DOWN: Even while in hospital for surgery, East Ballina Lion, Bob Morgan, was promoting sales of the Lions Hearing Dog Calendars. Contributed

Meet dedicated Ballina man still helping from hospital bed

NOT even major surgery could stop East Ballina Lion Bob Morgan from doing his bit to help others.

Bob has been in Lions International for 50 years, and his club presented him with a plaque to recognise his service.

But Bob has battled some health problems in the past year, which included two surgeries.

Yet even in his hospital bed, he had a poster attached to his slide-in table advertising the Lions Hearing Dog Calendars which support the program which provides dog to help people with hearing problems in their day-to-day life.

Bob, who was Ballina Shire's Citizen of the Year in 2005, has always said his childhood inspired his community service.

He grew up in the south-western Sydney suburb of Hammondville near Liverpool, which was a housing estate created for low-income earners.

Bob has previously said the community spirit of those battlers gave him the inspiration to work for others.

He joined the Madang Lions Club in Papua New Guinea on May 26, 1969. One of his fellow Lions from that club, Neil Wallers, came to Ballina for Bob's 50th anniversary celebration.

He also was involved with the Madang Amateur Athletics Club and through the Lions raised money to send local athletes to the South Pacific Games.

When he returned to Australia, Bob moved to Blacktown and transferred to the local Lions club.

He came to learn of a condition called dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, with sufferers nicknamed "cotton wool babies" as they had to, as the saying goes, "be wrapped in cotton wool" because there skin could peel off at the slightest touch.

Bob, who had taken up running, organised the Cycle for Survival awareness campaign, and took part in marathon rides from Sydney to Launceston, to Adelaide and to Canberra.

Those marathons in the saddle then led to Bob swimming 844 laps of an Olympic pool -- that's 42.2km -- to raise money for the Lions International project, Sightfirst.

He received Blacktown's Citizen of the Year award for his efforts.

Bob moved to Ballina in 1996 and has been the face of many Lions projects in town, including a solo walk from Ballina to Southport.

In presenting Bob with his 50-year service award, East Ballina Lions Club president, Dawn Sword, said "Bob, we cannot tell you how much we admire you"

"Your service to Lions and humanity is awe-inspiring," she said.



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