Club honours community champions with top award

Simon Foley, Jeff Reynalds, Elizabeth Murphy and Alan Clark
Simon Foley, Jeff Reynalds, Elizabeth Murphy and Alan Clark

THREE community champions have been honoured with special awards from Morpeth Rotary Club.

Paul Harris Fellowships and citations were presented to club members Alan Clark, Simon Foley and John Murphy, who have been outstanding and inspiring over many years.

President Jeff Reynalds marked the end of his year by giving out the accolades, as well as five donations to support the local community.

Mr Murphy received his awards posthumously as he died in March. He was club President in 1998/99 and 2005/06.

He had been actively involved with the YMCA and was Chairman of the organisation in Morpeth, as well as supporting Barnabas Safe and Sound, Samaritans and Morpeth Talking Newspaper. He was also a member of Morpeth Golf Club and Morpeth Bridge Club.

Mr Murphy also played a major part in establishing a Citizens Advice Bureau in Morpeth and was a lay preacher at Morpeth Methodist Church.

His awards were accepted by his widow Elizabeth, herself a former President of Morpeth Soroptimists.

Mr Reynalds said: “John was a kind and compassionate member of the community who gave freely of his time and skills to all around him.

“He truly believed in service above self.”

On June 23, Mr Murphy was named in the Act of Remembrance by the North East Rotary District 1030, where 68 clubs had been invited to the last district meeting of the year.

Mr Clark, President of Morpeth Rotary Club in 1996/97, was recognised for his efforts as a church warden at St Mary’s Church in the town, being a mentor and facilitator at King Edward VI School and his involvement with the local Citizens Advice Bureau and Morpeth Talking Newspaper, among other organisations in the town and the North East.

The member of Morpeth Golf Club is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Newcastle West and he does a lot of fundraising for cancer charities.

Mr Reynalds said: “Alan is a greatly respected family man who sustains his interest and practical involvement in the well-being of the community.”

Mr Foley was club President in 2001/02 and his contributions include being an effective Chairman of the Citizens Advice Bureau, as well as the distribution and maintenance of the Message in a Bottle scheme in the region. He was also honoured for his involvement with Morpeth Talking Newspaper, Samaritans, Age Concern Meals on Wheels system and The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Mr Reynalds said: “Simon was a highly-respected educationalist for many years and upon his retirement he has wholeheartedly embraced voluntary work in a number of spheres to enhance the community.”

Remaining Rotary money for charities was shared, with £300 going to each of five organisations: Barnabas Safe and Sound, Samaritans, RNLI, Castle Morpeth Citizens’ Advice Bureau, operated by DAWN Advice, and Northumberland Women’s Refuge.

Three of the cheques were presented on the same night.