Special guest welcomed

Celia Leach Rotary District Governor and Laurie Walker Morpeth Rotary President.
Celia Leach Rotary District Governor and Laurie Walker Morpeth Rotary President.

Morpeth Rotary Club

TWICE a year, the Rotary District Governor is invited to take part in events at Morpeth Rotary Club.

This year, the office is held by Celia Leach, who was area personnel and training manager with a major supermarket group. The district covers an area from Berwick to North Yorkshire with 68 clubs and this was her 40th club visit since July.

There was a summary of local activities in Morpeth before she gave a talk. Rhona Dunn reported an extra £1,100 going to the flood appeal to be dispersed by the local Red Cross, including an unexpected donation from the Intercontinental Hotel Group. This will all be distributed to victims by Christmas.

The Morpeth Food Bank had been started, based at the New Life Christian Centre, and bags of food are being given to those in need. This is an ongoing service so all are encouraged to continue to donate money and food and offer to help.

As part of understanding the local economy and vocational activities, a visit had been arranged to Coca Cola Enterprises at Coopies Lane. This is the old Waters and Robson site.

Arrangements were in place for the Morpeth Rotary charity collection over a full week at the Morrisons supermarket. There had been progress on when the Jubilee commemoration trees would be delivered for planting.

The District Governor reported on the priorities of the Rotary International worldwide President Sakuji Tanaka. They are meeting the needs of others, building a more peaceful world and continuing the fight against major diseases such as polio.

Her priority for clubs in the district is to concentrate on supporting their local communities. The riots in some areas of a year ago pointed to community breakdown.

There were many challenges in her year in the role as she is relatively new. She joined Rotary in 2005 and became President of her new club of Newcastle Gosforth in 2006. Her first engagement was to zip-wire across the Tyne from the Baltic to lead a Rotary-sponsored charity event that helped to raise more than £6,500 to be shared between one national and many local charities.

She has concerns about literacy and numeracy and helping people into work. The club was recommended to support the Rotary Young Citizen Awards and to offer help to schools and the curriculum. She congratulated Morpeth Rotary for helping Hexham Rotary with the Young Technologist competition at the Newcastle Discovery Museum. Support for the Food Bank movement was also commended.

A recent survey had found 70,000 people in the North East who are in food poverty.