(l-r): Bruce Leonard and Murray Forrest (Photo credit: J.Ward).
The Motion Picture Industry Benevolent Society was founded in 1931 and has provided financial and emotional support to colleagues in genuine need for 85 continuous years.
At last month's meeting of the MPIBS, chairman Murray Forrest presented Bruce Leonard with a life membership.
"Bruce Leonard has been personally involved with the society for 38 years and for the past 24 years has been Secretary/Treasurer, during which time his commitment to the vital work of the MPIBS has been extraordinary", Forrest said.
"In recognition of his selfless dedication he has deservedly been awarded life membership, in recognition of outstanding and dedicated service and commitment to the society."
"In the 85 years of the society's existence, this rare honour has been bestowed on only five people. There is no more deserving individual than Bruce Leonard to join this special group."
Leonard was first invited to become a member of the council in 1978.
"I had been a member of The 47 Club for just on 12 months, and at that time I was the NSW Manager of David Koffel Australia (the Cinema Advertising Company)," he said.
"In June 1992, following the resignation of long-time Secretary/Treasurer Allan Lewis, I was asked to take over that position, which I was very pleased to do. Since that time, I have missed just one monthly meeting (as I was in hospital), so my wife Jill deputised for me on that occasion."
"One of the most pleasing aspects of my association with the MPIBS has been the separate occasions when I was able to persuade two former industry people, both of whom I was aware were doing it tough, to accept the assistance available to them from the MPIBS."
"They did not realise that any assistance rendered by the MPIBS was kept strictly confidential. Because of the former positions they had held in the industry, they were embarrassed to be found in a position where they now needed to ask for help."
"There is one beneficiary, a widow in her seventies, who has been receiving assistance from the Society now for many years. She constantly writes to thank me and the members of the Council every time she receives her regular benefit payments. She has shared her lonely life with us through sickness and health, car problems, computer breakdowns, and major surgery. Her ongoing appreciation of the assistance she receives from the MPIBS, both emotional and financial, makes my job as Secretary/Treasurer an enjoyable and fulfilling experience."