Ian Arrell doesn’t mind in the least when you call him an old bastard.
As secretary and treasurer of the International Order of Old Bastards (IOOB), it’s a badge the 75-year-old wears with pride.
This year the former policeman and detective was awarded an Medal of the Order of Australia for his work in the community, which recognises the charity work done by the organisation.
“We have six luncheons a year at Crown – about 200 people attend and we get as much money as we can from them,” Ian said.
“We have around 300 members on our books – accountants, bankers, car salesmen, you name it.
We help those who can’t get help from anywhere else
“We say it’s for anyone at, approaching or past the age of 60 – and approaching 60 could mean anything.
“It costs $25 a year to belong to the IOOB, and every cent we raise goes to charity – and that’s about $100,000 a year.”
Ian said the organisation works through different charities, assisting people with small things and big things.
“We help those who can’t get help from anywhere else,” he said. “We don’t give money. If someone needs something, we buy it for them.”
The organisation started in 1978. Ian joined in 1982 and says he inherited the secretary’s job.
“The previous secretary died, and the job came my way,” he said.
“I guess my background in the major fraud squad, and before the force, in banking, qualified me for the treasurer’s role.
“For me it was ideal to join a group that doesn’t require a huge time commitment but still contributes in important ways to the community.”
Another string in Ian’s bow involves the bagpipes.
With Scottish and Irish heritage, at age eight and living in Coburg, a friend wanted him to learn highland dancing.
From there, he was encouraged to join a junior police pipe band, which was recruiting young drummers and pipers.
At age 10, he played in the first Moomba parade.
Five years later, Ian filled in as piper for the Coburg RSL Armistice Day service. Extraordinarily, he’s done it every year since, not missing one in 59 years.
One of his fondest memories of piping was during the three days he belonged to the Royal Australian Navy.
“When HMAS Stuart was commissioned in 2002, I played the pipes on the bow of the ship at 6am as it came through the heads in Sydney,” he said.
- For more on the International Order of Old Bastards, visit the Facebook page or email Ian on firstname.lastname@example.org