Pat Strydom blazed a trail for women in Rotary

Pat Strydom, right with fellow Rotarians Fran Slabber and Tommy Freeborough.

Pat Strydom, a well-known resident of Milnerton and the first woman to join the formerly men-only Rotary Club of Blouberg, died at her home on Saturday. She was 74.

Ms Strydom and her husband became part of the Rotary Club of Blouberg when the club was chartered on November 21, 1986.

According to the club’s president, Helene Visser, women were not allowed to be members of the club at the time, and Ms Strydom joined the Rotary Anns, a club for the wives of the Rotarians.

Ms Strydom became the first woman to join the Rotary Club of Blouberg on December 3, 1992.

She had shown boundless energy, had served the less fortunate in her community and had always been willing to help local charities and institutions, especially those that cared for animals, said Ms Visser.

Annually, for more than 25 years, Ms Strydom, with the help of fellow Rotarians and members of her church, would host a garden party for the disabled and the elderly.

She had been a generous donor to the Lighthouse Association for the Blind and had shown a keen interest in the development of the Elda Mahslentle School, the forerunner of Sinenjongo High School, and had helped to raise money for computer and science centres at the school, said Ms Visser.

Ms Strydom had also been a member at the Royal Cape Yacht Club and Cape Jaguar Club.

When Covid-19 hit and many lost their jobs and income, Ms Strydom supported the Milnerton Community Action Network’s sandwich-making drive and had encouraged friends and fellow Rotarians to contribute sandwiches, non-perishable ingredients and animal food to the weekly feeding scheme.

“All this she did while still running her business,” said Ms Visser, who added that Ms Strydom would be sorely missed.

This picture of Pat Strydom was taken at a Blouberg Rotary celebration on Sunday November 21.