Morpeth Rotary Club
BEFORE he introduced the speaker, Morpeth Rotary President Jim Dunn made sure that members knew what business was to be carried out over the Christmas period up to mid January.
In addition, a group of members will help Alnwick Rotary with a supermarket bag pack in support of an education project in Sri Lanka.
He went on to report that the Morpeth Rotary collection at Morrisons for local charities raised £2,000 and he thanked local shoppers as well as the manager and staff at the store.
Mr Dunn was not finished yet because he then presented Lilian Nelson of the Morpeth branch of the Red Cross with a Paul Harris Fellowship for her voluntary work in the community. This is Rotary’s highest award named after one of its founders.
Mrs Nelson was a senior manager with Oldham Social Services before she moved to the area and quickly got involved with helping to organise the visits of children affected by the Chernobyl radiation to the North East.
She is now a leading co-ordinator for the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline organisation and is chair of the Morpeth and Wansbeck committee.
This year, volunteer families hosted 10 children for four weeks and their trip included visits to Whitehouse Farm, Cragside, St James’s Park, the Hancock Museum and Alnwick Castle and Gardens, as well as many other events and activities.
They received dental and eye checks and any necessary treatment.
Mrs Nelson has also done some important work as a Red Cross volunteer and committee member.
She was modest and self effacing upon receiving the award, saying it was a great pleasure to work with the children and support the community.
The speaker was Rev Simon White, who was recently appointed Rector of Morpeth. He had been at Felton and Longframlington with Brinkburn before moving to the town in September.
He has four children and talked of how excited children get at Christmas. Working with children at church, he asked a group to say who they thought was the most important person at the Lord’s Supper. One lad suggested it must have been the cook!
He discussed the innocence of children and how Jesus said we should be more like them, and how lovely it was to walk into church and find it warm and welcoming to all on their journey of faith, including the children.
It was good to see everyone discover afresh the Christmas message of hope each year. He talked of a lady whose husband had died during the year and she was feeling very alone, then someone brought her a Christmas present – a puppy.
It had been ordered by her husband only a few weeks before he had died and gave her hope and joy.
He looked forward to the joyful music of the carols to celebrate that the Lord has come. A light has dawned and good will always overcome evil.
A raffle was held to raise money for local man Richard Sanderson, who runs a project helping 185 street children in Bogota, Columbia.
One of the guests won a bottle of spirits, but insisted it was auctioned off and it raised £27 towards the total of £208.
The night was rounded off with members and guests singing carols, led by some well-known local singers and with Michael Gaunt at the keyboard.