Club celebrates a major milestone

Morpeth Rotary 75th Anniversary and President's Night.'Top table guests.
Morpeth Rotary 75th Anniversary and President's Night.'Top table guests.

Morpeth Rotary Club

THE 75th anniversary of the founding of Morpeth Rotary Club made this year’s President’s Night at Morpeth Golf Club a very special celebration.

On December 7, 1937, the first meeting of the club took place in the Congregational Hall, Morpeth. It then received its Rotary International Charter on March 29, 1938, in the presence of 220 rotarians from around the region. The first President was G. F. Howell.

The current World President of Rotary International, Sakuji Tanaka, marked the anniversary by sending special congratulations and a 75th-anniversary Charter. They were presented to Morpeth President for 2012/13, Laurie Walker, by North East Region District Governor Celia Leach.

She noted that in 1938, as now, it had not been a peaceful world and a large meteorite had landed on Earth. Inventions that year included the biro, colour television, the nylon toothbrush, Teflon, instant coffee, Dennis the Menace and Superman.

Also in 1938, then US President Franklin D. Roosevelt started a foundation to fight polio in the country and that fight was being continued by Rotary clubs around the world.

Morpeth Rotary has recently completed a three-year funding campaign, along with other clubs, to eliminate polio worldwide. It raised £3,000. The anniversary raffle income of £400 will go to the same cause.

She thanked Morpeth Rotary for making a difference to other people’s lives and the community, while at the same time enjoying themselves.

Special guests were welcomed in a witty and erudite manner by Junior Vice President, Prof Andrew Hamnett.

As well as the North East Region District Governor, there was Mark and Lynne Horton, Mayor and Mayoress of Morpeth, Rotary Assistant District Governor Terry Long, of Alnwick Rotary Club – also celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, Linda Turnbull and Jo Robinson from Newcastle Rotary Club, its founding club from 1938, Marion Long, President of Alnwick Rotary (Terry’s wife), Vivien Scott, President of Morpeth Inner Wheel, Trish Walker, Professor Paul Christenson and Simon Pringle, President of Morpeth Lions.

Mr Walker gave an inspiring and articulate speech, even though he had almost lost his voice. He quoted the Morpeth Herald when in 1938 it had complained that Morpeth had waited too long to get its own Rotary club.

It agreed that Rotary was not just a place to eat and talk, but would be an initiator of regular and important community service, carried out quietly and supported by a discipline of regular attendance and involvement.

However, the Rotary ideals of fellowship and service can be fragile and need to be cherished. A few weeks before the Morpeth club was founded, the Anschluss of Austria into Germany had taken place and many rotary clubs there had been closed down for daring to think they had better ideals than the government of Germany.

Mr Walker congratulated all members past and present for a proud 75 years. He thanked the President Elect, Jim Dunn, and others for organising the evening and invited everyone to enjoy the entertainment.

Shambles of Alnwick was due to be introduced by the Morpeth Gadgy, Alex Swailes, but he had been caravanning in the Lake District and had been trapped by snow. His colleague, Colin Bradford, welcomed them instead.

The group played Northumbrian and country and western favourites to the rapture of all present.

As usual the food was tasty and interesting with Craster salmon mousse, Wallington beef and poached rhubarb, as well as Northumbrian honey yoghurt.

l Morpeth Rotary Club meetings take place on Tuesday evenings from 5.45pm at Morpeth Golf Club.