ROTARY ROUND-UP: Celebrating presidents past and present

Rotary past presidents
Rotary past presidents
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This week, David Chapman, from the Rotary Club of West Worthing, gives an update on the latest and future goings-on.

There are two words that really sum up what Rotary is about – service and fellowship.

It is these two words that give meaning and depth to the lives of Rotarians.

In service we gain the pleasurable satisfaction of helping our fellow men and women, putting something back into the community, and showing our gratitude for our own good fortune in life.

Doing this as a group we enjoy the benefits of fellowship, the joy of shared tasks and friendships built up over time, and the caring that comes with it.

West Worthing Rotary certainly is working hard to promote these values for their members with a rich programme of events and activities.

It was exemplified by our recent past presidents evening which brought together 16 of the presidents who have led the club in recent years, since its foundation in 1952.

Of course many have passed on and others could not be there because of ill health or other commitments, but a welcome was also extended to the partners of those presidents who, as we say, ‘had now moved on to higher service’.

Those who did make it enjoyed the pleasure of renewing old friendships and catching up on the news of others and sharing the nostalgia of joys of the past.

Rex Patterson, one of our oldest active Rotarians at the age of 90 and president from 1996-97, was also welcomed to the event.

The club was pleased that Janice Langley, whose husband David passed away only two years ago, was able to be present.

David was president from 2014-15 and his father, Maurice, was one of the founders of the West Worthing Rotary Club in 1952.

Each year a new president is inducted into office to steer the club’s activities during the one-year term of office.

Over the years 64 presidents have presided over programmes of activities that have made, and continue to make considerable contributions towards the life of the community in Worthing.

Mike Robinson, who was president in 1987, was remarkable in his feat of cycling from Worthing to Newcastle and back, enjoying the hospitality of Rotarian’s homes en route and raising £6,000 for the Rotary International Polio Eradication Fund.

At one stage West Worthing Rotary Club was instrumental in providing housing for needy Worthing residents with a building still known as Rotary Lodge.

Ernest Smith, president from 1978-79, was an important figure in the administration of that project over many years.

Apart from this past president’s event and the regular meetings of the three Worthing clubs, there are many other events that bring local Rotarians together.

Over the next few weeks we will have the Three Clubs Dinner where all Rotarians in the town come together to celebrate their continued joint working.

Each club will also have its own presidents evening to acknowledge the work of the incumbent president as they come to the end of their term of office.

Meanwhile work goes on planning joint events such as the Three Forts Challenge, nationally acknowledged as on one of the most difficult marathon courses in the country, to be held on Sunday April 30.

Another group is working on the plans to stage the annual Worthing Rotary Carnival and parade at the end of August.

West Worthing Rotary Club continues with a programme of activities which includes a fundraising car boot sale, theatre trips, strawberry teas, golf and putting evenings as well as the regular Tuesday evening meetings at the Tudor Close in Ferring.

Club members also enjoyed a recent outing to Hove Greyhound Stadium which raised £1,800 towards the effort to eradicate polio.

Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:

• Worthing Rotary Club meets Monday, 12.55pm, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in The Steyne, Worthing, 01903 209564.

• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 501961.

• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 07788 638757.

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