Paul Pratt – Board Member Q & A
Paul has been a member of this community since 1995, when he moved here with his wife Libby and their three children. He is a solicitor specialising in civil litigation and has practiced for 30 years. He has loved being actively involved in this community, as a member of Scope, an adult education provider, the Primary School Council, the Chaplaincy committee, St Mary’s parish council, the Mirboo North Junior Football Club and the former aged care board. He is currently the president of the Mirboo North Football Netball Club.
1. Where are you from and what brought you to Mirboo North? I was born in the English city of Leeds in 1962. At age 26 in 1988, after qualifying as a solicitor, I decided to travel overseas. I spent 9 months traveling through Africa and met my wife Libby Birrell. Her family lived in Stony Creek in South Gippsland. We were married in 1991 and lived in Melbourne. We had Alice and Louisa in 1993 and decided to relocate to Gippsland to be closer to Libby’s parents and give our kids a country upbringing. I got a job working for a law firm in the Valley. Mirboo North was ideally positioned for work and being close to Libby’s parents in Stony Creek.
2. What’s your favourite thing about the MN Football Netball Club? It is a very welcoming and friendly club. Its members are non-judgmental and accept you for who you are. They are tremendously generous and genuine people who know how to have fun and look after people through the hard times.
3. What have you got on your bucket list? To live in the Yorkshire Dales for about 2 years and enjoy Black Sheep bitter (beer)!
4. Why did you get involved with the Community Foundation? To ensure the money raised in this community was protected and wisely invested and used for the benefit of local people.
5. What does philanthropy mean to you? Giving generously, whether in money and/or time to make a difference for good in other peoples’ lives.
6. What motivates you to volunteer in the community? To make our community a vibrant and healthy environment for people to live fulfilling and peaceful lives.
7. Whom do you most admire and why? I have two heroes, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela. They were real leaders who stood up for what they believed, often at great personal cost. They achieved great things for their people by taking a stand against evil regimes and inspiring ordinary people to do acts of valour to overcome what seemed insurmountable problems of fascism and apartheid.
8. What did you want to be when you were growing up? For some reason, that I now cannot really understand, I wanted to be a lawyer! Being serious, I always wanted to be involved in solving problems for people and fighting for their rights.
9. What makes you laugh? Many things, but especially good friends having fun.
10. How does the Community Foundation have an impact in our District? It helps local people bring to fruition projects that make a significant difference in their local areas. By being local and accessible what we do has a direct affect to strengthen our communities. We are not overly bureaucratic and our grant requirements are not burdensome, meaning local people do not have to spend too much time and energy in applying for money.