District Governor David spreads the Rotary engagement message

District Governor David Sadler on right and Morpeth Rotary new President Jim Dunn on left.
District Governor David Sadler on right and Morpeth Rotary new President Jim Dunn on left.

Morpeth Rotary Club

RETIRED police inspector David Sadler is District Governor for the 68 clubs in the Rotary North East Area and is also a member of Saltburn Rotary Club.

He spoke to Morpeth Rotary members about his life and thoughts for the year ahead.

When he retired from Cleveland Police in 2001 after 34 years, he was Chairman of Saltburn Football Club and had been known as the ‘Sheriff of Saltburn’.

Mr Sadler joined Rotary in 1994 and since then has held most of the jobs and positions in the local and district organisation. He led a Rotary International study team to Tennessee in the USA in 2007 and had been a study team member himself.

He noted that both Morpeth and Saltburn Rotary meet at golf clubs and both were founded within a few years of each other – Morpeth in 1937 and Saltburn in 1925. Both have also recently inducted their first lady members.

He confirmed why he and most others were in Rotary, to do good in the world and to make it fun.

Mr Sadler considered his heroes as he was growing up. On TV there were a range of series he enjoyed, such as Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, Dan Tempest Buccaneer, William Tell and Sir Lancelot, followed by heroes in film like John Wayne and James Cagney.

As he got into music and sport there were the Beatles and Middlesbrough footballers, as well as Bobby Moore, cricketer Freddie Trueman and boxer Cassius Clay (who later became Muhammad Ali). He admired many people from history and world affairs, including Sir Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King. He then got interested in girls.

Shortly after in 1967, he joined the police and his heroes were fellow officers and other emergency services workers who showed self sacrifice and bravery in keeping people safe.

Mr Sadler married and had two daughters and became impressed by more complex heroes such as Bob Geldof, who saw the scale of hunger in Africa and did something about it.

Two invitations helped him to change his life. In 1986, his boss in the police asked him if he would join a team of young professionals to go on a Rotary International exchange visit to Texas. He was 36 and stayed with an American Rotarian in his 70s.

In 1994, he was invited to join Rotary and found a different sort of hero. They were people who were good at what they did, they helped people at a time of need and made a difference without making a fuss.

He had found in police work how important good leadership was and how it must never forget the people on the ground who make things happen. They have a right to expect support from their leaders.

Most Rotarians do not want to bother with district meetings and rules and regulations, but just want to get on with meeting the needs they see in front of them.

Mr Sadler and the district team promised to help members in Rotary clubs to do what they do best – to act as like minded people who are keen to change people’s lives for the better.

People who will, for example, stand shaking a tin outside a freezing supermarket to raise money for charity and work and organise to help to eradicate polio worldwide.

He said that the members of Morpeth Rotary Club were legendary in the district and an example in the work they did, such as during the 2008 and 2012 floods, working with other local people and organisations.

Saltburn Rotary Club had sent money to help.

Potential members do not want to be told about where to meet and how much it costs. They want to know the brilliant things that Rotarians can do to make a difference and carry out work that does not just end when we do, but is still there when we are gone.

He has visited 11 clubs since he started in July and found that they are all organisations full of heroes, although they are all doing different things and trying to get things done in different ways.

His plea for the year was to ‘Engage in Rotary and Change Lives’. Rotarians will then find the lives that change most are their own.