Image (left to right):  AHA NSW CEO John Whelan, Rolly De With, Maureen Thornett and AHA and National President Scott Leach

Rolly De With of The Junction Hotel, Newcastle and Balmain Royal Oak publican Maureen Thornett honoured

AHA NSW has welcomed two new life members to its ranks – honouring the achievements of two stalwarts of the industry at a special ceremony this week.

Long-serving AHA NSW Executive member Rolly De With of The Junction Hotel, Newcastle and respected Balmain publican Maureen Thornett received the honour in front of an audience of fellow life members at Quay on Monday afternoon.

AHA NSW and National President Scott Leach presented them with their life member pins.

“A life membership of AHA NSW is not given lightly,” Mr Leach said. “It is a rare honour, given to those few who have shown a lifelong commitment to the industry. I would like to congratulate both Rolly and Maureen on their years of service to our great industry.”

Mr De With, introduced by fellow executive member Des Kennedy, said being made a life member was an “incredible honour.”

“I have been fortunate to find success within an industry that is both exciting, challenging and rewarding but I could not accept such an honour without paying tribute to those who came before me – those who taught me what it means not just to run a hotel, but to be a hotelier,” he said.

“I also owe so much to my family – my wife Helen and our children Nicholas and Sophia. To succeed in this industry requires time, effort and commitment. Spending 30 years as a hotelier can take its toll, but I have the great fortune of being part of a family that is not only strong, but loyal and which understands the importance of never ever giving up. Without them and the mentors who came before me I would not have been able to achieve so much throughout my career, so it is to them this honour really belongs.”

Ms Thornett, introduced by great friend and industry legend Jenny Farrell, has been a stalwart of the industry for decades at The Royal Oak, Balmain. It was recalled when she first started out in the business women were not even allowed in the main bar of a hotel. She said it was a “great honour” to receive life membership saying “it was one of the special days of my life and will be a treasured memory and experience.”

“The sun was definitely shining on me on Monday,” Thornett continued. “It was wonderful to have my family included and share the day and the experience with them,” she said.

The announcement comes ahead of the AHA NSW Awards For Excellence 2018 taking place in Sydney on Tuesday 20th November, expect full coverage on TheShout thereafter.

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