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Byron Shire
December 6, 2022

Ballina’s local legend Danny Singh honoured

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Danny Singh outside The Cove restaurant in Ballina. Photo David Lowe.

The Cove Restaurant’s Danny Singh is now a Paul Harris Fellow. This prestigious award is named for the founder of Rotary International, ‘in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.’

At the awards ceremony held at Ballina RSL, outgoing Ballina on Richmond Rotary Club President Dave Harmon spoke about the long friendship between Rotary and the Singhs, which started six years earlier when they had a stall at the Food and Wine Festival.

‘Five years ago our Rotary Club conducted the first fund raiser/Action lunch at La Cacina Restaurant and raised over $10,000 for victims of the 2017 Lismore Floods,’ said Mr Harmon.

‘Further, Danny donated several hundred Indian curry meals for those affected by the floods. In 2018 we held another fund raiser/auction to raise funds for our Rebuilding from the Rubble Nepal Earthquake project. In one afternoon we raised some $6,000,’ he said.

Danny was not able to pick up his award in person but his wife Mala Singh did the honours, pictured here with Rotary’s District Governor Andy Rajapakse and Dave Harmon. Photo supplied.

‘In 2019 the Rotary Club adopted an Awareness Raising Campaign for Domestic Violence.

‘This was a cause close to Danny’s and Marla’s hearts and since then, we have conducted several fund raiser/auctions related to domestic violence and the respectful relationship education program called Love Bites.

‘Collectively we have raised over $15,000 for this cause,’ said Mr Harmon.

COVID strikes

‘When COVID-19 hit our town in 2020, and we went into lockdown, Danny and Marla had no idea what they were going to do with their business and staff,’ said Dave Harmon.

‘Danny soon realised that all the social service agencies and crisis meal centers in town had closed their doors, leaving those in need of support in crisis. Danny, being the altruistic person he is, started providing free meals to those in need, no questions asked.

‘I can remember Marla saying “how are we going to pay for this?” and Danny’s reply was “Don’t worry, we will be alright”, but privately Danny had no idea and was worried.

‘From this initial start-up members from our club visited Danny and discussed his initiative. On the spot, the Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond partnered with The Cove Restaurant to provide over 2000 free meals and raise over $16,000 in some 8 weeks.

‘Rotary has provided me with some life changing experiences and this was one of them,’ said Mr Harmon.

Hard life for many in Ballina

‘Many of us are not aware of the financial struggle many families face, with many living week to week with not much saved for a rainy day,’ continued Dave Harmon.

‘I am personally aware of many of the sad stories from the homeless, women and children escaping DV and those in financial hardship at that time,’ he said. ‘The indignity that many felt asking for a free meal was troubling. Danny and Marla changed and perhaps saved people’s lives. What a phenomenal effort.

Danny Singh, Paul Harris Fellow. Photo supplied.

‘I conservatively estimate that Danny and Marla have combined with our club over the past five years to raise upward of $50,000 with these funds going directly to our many causes and projects.

‘I can think of no one more deserving of Paul Harris recognition. Danny is a true example of “Service Above Self” and it is my pleasure to present this recognition,’ concluded Mr Harmon.

Via social media, Rotary’s newest Paul Harris Fellow Danny Singh thanked all concerned for the recommendation. ‘I feel so privileged and honoured to receive this prestigious award,’ he said.

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