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The following members have been awarded Life Membership in recognition of their service to the Club and their total dedication. The Club values the contribution each and every one has made:

Peter Shearman

Awarded 1993

Gerard Porter

Awarded 1997

Gary Parnaby

Awarded 1997

Lawrence Gibbs

Awarded 1997

Peter Sack

Awarded 2004

Stephen Frew

Awarded 2007

Ralph Green (dec.)

Awarded 2009

John Slater

Awarded 2014

Russ Murray

Awarded 2016

Ric Begg

Awarded 2019

Garry Elphinstone

Awarded 2019

DOCV Life Members, we thank you
Article, written by Kathie van Vugt for the June 2016 edition of Desmoto

As part of the celebrations of DOCV’s 40th Anniversary, it is fitting to look back at the history of the club and acknowledge the people who have helped shape it into the successful club it is today and, at various times in its history, have helped save it from the brink of dissolution.

Firstly, we should doff our helmets to the five Ducati enthusiasts who got together in 1975 and formed the steering committee of what was the precursor to DOCV, a club by enthusiasts for enthusiasts: Mick Robinson, Marcus McLeod, Roger Skehill, Tom Saville and Richard Davies. The first meeting was held at Richard’s house and attended by around 15 Ducati owners. In the first few years, the club had around 25 members and membership fees only just covered the meeting hall hire fees.

In early 1979, the club almost folded due to lagging enthusiasm and lack of direction. But a new dynamic Committee, including Gerard Porter as Secretary from 1979-1981, revived interest and soon club membership was up around the 60 mark.

Peter Shearman’s article ‘A short club history’ was first featured on the inside cover of Desmoto in the June 1985 edition. In this article Peter commented that, in it’s 10th year, the club had over 200 members and ‘long-time members such as myself are justifiably proud of how far the club has come from such a small beginning’.

Peter’s next contribution to recording the history of the club appeared in the April 1993 edition of Desmoto; ‘Club History Part 1 - The Early Days (1975-1979)’, and in recognition of all the time and effort Peter had contributed to the club in its first 18 years, not just recording its history but being a part of it, he was awarded the very first DOCV Life Membership. This prestigious award was presented to Peter at the general meeting in June 1993.

According to the DOCV Constitution: Life Membership is an honour that may be bestowed upon a member of the Association, at the discretion of the Committee, in recognition of his or her exceptional contribution for the betterment of the Association and its members.

Peter was one of the founding members, having attended that first official club meeting on 9 March 1976 at the Model Railway Hall in Glen Iris, he was a regular contributor of technical advice in the club newsletter and Desmoto, and for 14 years (between 1980 and 1994) was an instrumental part of the Committee.

Peter’s first Committee position was as Club Captain in 1980/81. He served as President in 1981/82 and again in 1986/87 and as Vice President from 1989-1994. He was also a member of the Editorial Committee from 1983-1985, 1987-1989 and again in 1995-1997. He won the Don McClelland Award in 1988 and is still a very active member of the club to this day, regularly contributing to Desmoto with ‘Shearm’s Tips’ and currently serving on the 40th Anniversary Sub-Committee.

By the end of the club’s 20th year, membership numbers were around 280 (279 according to the Vice Pres report in the March 1997 Desmoto), and the Committee was gearing up to celebrate the club’s 21st Anniversary, which was held in early November 1997.

It was at this prestigious 'bash’ that Gerard Porter, Lawrence (Peter) Gibbs, and Gary Parnaby were also awarded Life Membership. This honour was bestowed upon these three members in recognition for their contributions to the early years of the club.

As I mentioned previously, Gerard Porter served as Secretary from 1979-1981, Club Captain in 1982/83, Head Coordinator of the Special Events Committee in 1983/84, Secretary (again) in 1984/85 and in that year was also on the Pyramid Hill Rally Committee and won the Don McClelland Award. Gerard was on the Editorial Committee from 1983-1987, was the Club Captain (again) in 1986/87, was Shim Exchange Officer from 1986-1990, and was Editor from 1988-1990. After a solid 10+ years of service to the club, Gerard was a worthy recipient of the Life Membership.

As was Gary Parnaby, a stalwart member of the club who has won the Don McClelland Award twice, in 1983 and again in 1987. Gary was very active on Committee-related duties from 1984-1990 and again from 1999-2001. His first assignment was as part of the Editorial Committee in 1983/84, he then became Editor the following year in 1984/85 and was also on the Pyramid Hill Rally Committee that year. After a year off Committee duties, Gary came back to serve as Editor again in 1986/87. He remained on the Editorial Committee from 1987-1989. In 1989/90, Gary served as President and in the same year he was both the Shim Exchange Officer and the Decal Scheme Officer, a role he performed from 1988-1990. Gary then served as Treasurer from 1999-2001.

Lawrence Gibbs, another worthy recipient, first came on the Committee scene in 1985/86 when he served on the F1 Raffle Committee. In 1986/87 he served as Treasurer and then as President from 1987-1989, during which time he was also on the Editorial Committee. Lawrence then returned as President in 1992/93, he won the Anthony Licciardo Award in 1993 and the Don McClelland Award in 1994, and, whilst Desmoto doesn’t list the role of Public Officer until 1994, a comment made by the then President, Steve Frew (in the February 2004 edition of Desmoto) indicates that Lawrnece served as DOCV’s Public Officer for some 17 years before he resigned in late 2003 to move interstate.

Peter Sack was awarded Life Membership at the general meeting in December 2003, at which time he also took over the reins as the DOCV Public Officer from Lawrence Gibbs, a position he held for the next 10 years. ‘Sacky’ won the Don McClelland Award in 1991 and served as Treasurer in 1993/94, during which time he was also in charge of Paraphernalia. He served as President in 1994/95, won the Don McClelland Award again in 2001 and was Vice President from 2002-2004. In the words of the then President, Steve Frew, Sacky was ‘the backbone of the club, always there to put up his hand’. The kind of member who really makes a club, a great guy to have around and the kind of guy who is always happy to share his wealth of knowledge with other members.

Speaking of Steve Frew, he was awarded Life Membership at the general meeting in December 2006 for the outstanding contributions he made as President during the preceding 3 years. At that time, Steve was instrumental in the success of he National Ducati Rally, raising the bar for future events, and he was also heavily involved in the 30th Birthday celebrations and instigated numerous behind-the-scenes procedures, which contributed to the success of the club during that period.

Steve served as Editor from 1999-2001 and as the club’s longest-serving President from 2003-2009. He also doubled as temporary Editor for a couple of months in 2005 and under his leadership in 2006, the club’s 30th year, memberships reached a record high of 385 financial members.

You will understand by now that Life Membership is not awarded lightly. Even if you do not know these members, you will get the sense that all of these recipients have truly made their mark on the club and have gone above and beyond to ensure its success.

Speaking of making your mark, many of you will recognize the penmanship of Ralph Green’s alter-ego, Ralphino Verde, who was a regular contributor to Desmoto for many years. What you may not be aware of is that Ralph’s first Committee position was as President in 1993/94, after only 4 or 5 years being a member - a brave step up for a relative newbie to the club. This bravery to lead the way was to surface again almost 10 years later, but in the meantime Ralph became Editor in 1994/95 and Ralphino remained on the Editorial Committee from 1995-1997.

It was in 2002/03 Ralph, once again, stepped into the fray by putting his hand up to be President, after the club had spent a whole year without one (the first time the club had ever had a vacancy for the position of President). So, when Ralph was awarded Life Membership at the general meeting in December 2008, it was not just for the mark he had stamped on the club annals through his writing, it was for stepping up to lead the show at a time when nobody else was willing to risk it and for ensuring that, under his leadership, the club’s past political problems were stabilized.

Our most recent recipient of the honour is John Slater, who was awarded Life Membership at the December 2013 general meeting. John has been a member of the club since 1977, he was heavily involved in the club in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and served as Treasurer from 1980-1983. He was also involved in helping with the Pyramid Hill Rallies and the MRA bike show at that time. John continues to be an active member of the club, he attends every general meeting and in his unassuming way, ensures the clubs links with its past remain firmly intact.

In 2013, John took on the gargantuan task of sourcing, collating and scanning to CD every single DOCV newsletter and Desmoto ever produced. And, once complete, he donated this resource to the club to ensure its history was preserved. This Desmoto Archive is now available to members on the DOCV website: and as a result of John’s efforts, the website provides a unique living history of one of the longest continuously running Ducati Owner’s clubs in the world.

By the end of February 2016, leading into it’s 40th year, DOCV had 560 financial members and it is thanks to the likes of these eight extraordinary Life Members, all the Committee and Sub-Committee members, Officer-bearers and active members who have volunteered their time and effort for the club over the years, that the DOCV continues to grow from strength to strength.

I think I speak for all members past and present when I say to everyone involved in making the club what it is today: Congratulations on a job well done and grazie mille!

Kathie van Vugt, Desmoto, June 2016

Post Script

In the DOCV 40th Anniversary year, 2016, Russ Murray lovingly, selfishly, tirelessly researched years, events, occasions, celebrations, rides, committees, chased up articles, contacts, photos. He invested many a long evening, travelled long distances, applied his own indefinable Russ lens to bring us a history of this club. So, in recognition and appreciation of Russ’ immersion to Desmoto and DOCV over many years and in the research, the writing and production of our first 40 years in print, he was made the 11th Life Member of DOCV.

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