Alan Cluff, inspiring Warrigal Board member of 25 years & Chairman for 3 years
My time at Warrigal was a very happy time, being a part of the organisation, seeing it grow, thrive and being a leader in the field - it was great to see. I served about 25 years on the Warrigal board through various roles on the committee.
I was Assistant Treasurer for about a year, then Secretary, then Vice Chairman and then Chairman for 3 years. When I indicated my wish to retire, I nominated Alan Hardy and when he assumed the chairmanship he asked me to stay on for another year.
Those 25 years serving on the Warrigal Board were very interesting times, it was very rewarding and I’ve seen tremendous growth in Warrigal. One of the highlights was when I first come onto the Board, the organisation had only 17 staff. When I finished, we had well over 400 staff. We created jobs in various places and this was great to see.
When I was younger I loved travelling. I took my mother home to Scotland for 6 months. She was Scottish to the backbone and was one of 13 children.
I remember we landed in England and went my mother’s sisters. After about 3 weeks I said I was taking off! My cousin loaned me a bicycle so I cycled across England, into Wales and over to Ireland. I had given my mother the address for a small town in the West of Ireland and when I arrived there was a letter for me which said: “Dear Alan, your uncle was bitterly disappointed when I arrived in Scotland. You were not with me. Love Mum”. In other words, she was saying “Get on your bike and get over here!”, so I got back on my bike.
I rode up to Dublin then caught a boat across to Glasgow. When I got off the boat, I realised I was headed in the wrong direction. I saw a policeman and in his Scottish accent he told me “Ahh laddie, you’re going the wrong direction – go that-a-way”. So I headed off and I started going around in a circle, I was disorientated and I didn’t know why. Eventually I saw a name of a town that I recognised and finally made it.
When I arrived, I knocked on the door and my uncle answered and said “Ah Alan good to see you”. I could hear two women talking and I didn’t recognise my mother’s voice. It had only been a few weeks since I’d seen her but I could barely recognize her Scottish accent!