At the end of this month I shall complete my year as President of The Rotary Club of Halifax.
Rotary is a worldwide organisation that brings together men and women into fellowship with one another from many different walks of life and backgrounds, and whose moto is Service above self.
Rotary is one of the very best networking organisations both at the local level, regionally, and internationally. One can see them at work often out in the community: acting as Stewards at lots of community events; organising their own events to raise money for charitable organisations; responding to crisis at home and abroad; committed to bringing about the end of Polio across the world in partnership with Bill Gates; running competitions for local Schools, be it Young Musician, Primary Schools Quiz, RYLA Leadership Programme for Sixth Formers, Young Chief and Technology competition.
Halifax Rotary Club is one of the biggest in the 1040 District with around 75 members, who meet for lunch on a Wednesday at The Shay Stadium. Each week after lunch there is a short bit of business followed by a short talk given by an invited speaker, covering everything from Mole Catchers to the Member of Parliament.
Today I’ve spent the day at Rotary Kids Day Out, taking 18 children from Ravenscliffe School to Flamingo Land, meeting up with many other clubs from across Yorkshire, bringing many children with severe disabilities and impairments, for a great day out doors with lots of fun.
Although it was difficult to take a full day out of the diary, I’m so glad that I did, it was worth every minute, not only to see the enjoyment of the children’s faces, but to witness the vocation of the staff who work at the school, it was truly inspirational.
At the end of the month, it will be the Hand Over ceremony, during which I hand over to the incoming President and get the chance to make some presentations and awards to members of club who have worked their socks off this year, and to some community organisations in recognition for the work they do. This year Lucy Hodgson will become the first woman President in the history of the club, and we have two more women lined up to follow after her.
This year I shall be making awards to some of those organisations who work with some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our community: The Food bank at New Ebenezer Church; The Women’s Centre; and the St Augustine’s Centre in their 50th anniversary year. Each organisation will receive a certificate and a cheque for a £1,000. As always with these things, there are many other organisations who are equally deserving, and hopefully their turn will come.
Being President for the year has sometimes been an inconvenience, but I’ve done things, and been to places, and met people, that otherwise would never have happened. It’s also been the chance to take the opportunity to try an encourage many other people who give of their time, their talents, and their money, to support the town of Halifax and make it the great place Halifax is to those who live here.
Having lived all over the Country, I can tell you many other places don’t have the community spirit that Halifax enjoys, and we need to ensure that we treasure it and value what it brings to our quality of life and the good health of the community. Service above self is a great moto – you should try it!