A bunch of Canberra Rotarians just took down Iron Man
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A bunch of Canberra Rotarians just took down Iron Man

A birthday card for actor Robert Downey Jr did hold the world record for the most signatures on a greeting card. Not anymore, it seems. And a bunch of Rotarians is responsible for taking down Iron Man.

Celebrations have been under way this year for 90 years of Rotary in Canberra, specifically for the Rotary Club of Canberra, established in 1928.

Rotary District 9710 - which covers south-east NSW and the ACT - decided to celebrate the milestone in an imaginative way.

It created a huge birthday card and set it up at the Rotary marquee during this year's Floriade, asking people to sign it.

They ended up getting a massive 11,515 signatures.

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Rotary District 9710 members with the massive 90th birthday card signed by 11,515 people at its Floriade marquee.

Rotary District 9710 members with the massive 90th birthday card signed by 11,515 people at its Floriade marquee.

That was a whole lot more than the 5339 fans signatures put on a birthday card for Robert Downey Jr in China for the opening of Iron Man 3 in 2013.

The 90th birthday cake for Rotary in Canberra.

The 90th birthday cake for Rotary in Canberra.

While Downey's card did get the tick-off from Guinness World Records, the Rotary card remains an unofficial record, as past district governor Steve Hill, of Canberra, explained.

"We would have had to pay for Guinness World Records judges to be there every day - and we weren't doing that,'' he said, adding the public response to the project was heartening.

"I think it makes us feel proud Rotary is in people's minds,'' he said.

New District 9710 Governor Margaret Hassall, of Cooma, wasn't mucking around about whether the record was real or not: "We're claiming it''.

Mrs Hassall, a retired secondary teacher, took over as governor mid this year. The district has 1300 members.

Many of the Rotarians have been busy with projects helping farmers struggling in the drought. Some on the coast have hosted farming families to give them a break. Others have gone into rural communities and held social functions for the farmers, buying the supplies locally to help give the local economy a boost.

"Rotary gives the members a chance to be of service, to their local community and the worldwide community,'' Mrs Hassall said.

Iron Man played by Robert Downey Jr. The suit couldn't save him from Canberra's Rotarians.

Iron Man played by Robert Downey Jr. The suit couldn't save him from Canberra's Rotarians.

"I'm just amazed by the creativity of people in tackling a task and understanding where there is a need, and meeting it.''

The Floriade marquee also exceeded expectations in terms of piquing the interest of potential new members. By the festival’s end, a district record of 112 people had signed up with an interest to join Rotary. These included young people expressing enthusiasm about engaging with local Rotaract clubs.

Megan Doherty is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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