Rotarians’ deserved honours

MEMBERS of Morpeth Rotary Club ended 2011 with a busy meeting.

The annual Christmas message was delivered by Rev Joan Grindrod-Wells, whose masterly re-telling of the Nativity was by means of using the names of around 30 well-known chocolate bars, which she had spread on a Christmas table.

An unexpected visitor was Terry Long, who was the President of Alnwick Rotary Club until July and is currently a marketing agent for a well-known ginger beer.

He was representing the Rotary District Governor and had come to present seven long-service awards.

The longest-serving member at over 45 years is much-loved Morpeth character and retired auctioneer George Strachan, who celebrated his 90th birthday earlier in the year.

One of Rotary’s greatest honours, a Paul Harris Fellowship, was awarded by Morpeth Rotary Club President David Richardson to member Barry Swan of Whalton and to active and respected local community worker Gillian Irvine.

Barry is a retired bank manager and has been a Rotary member for more than 30 years.

He was President in 2003 and has worked in the community with Macmillan Cancer Support, Whalton Village Hall, Rowley Baptist Church, King Edward VI High School, Morpeth Talking Newspaper and a charity supporting children in Colombia.

Gillian was a teacher of Maths and Music, is a fund-raiser and secretary for the NSPCC, Chairman of the Wansbeck Music Festival Committee and a member of the Mid-Northumberland Chorus.

She sits on the Greater Morpeth Development Trust Arts Group and organises the St George’s United Reformed Church lunchtime concerts. She was also awarded an MBE in 2007.

The meeting was brought to a seasonal musical finish with Christmas carols accompanied by Morpeth solicitor Michael Gaunt on the electronic organ.