Morpeth Rotary Club
A total of 72 Rotarians, guests and friends gathered at the refurbished Morpeth Rotary Club to help President Bob Kendall celebrate his year in office.
It began with a formal welcome for Bob and his guests by MC Simon Foley, followed by a tasty four-course meal, then coffee and tea served by the new caterer.
Various formal toasts were performed with dignity and appropriate comments.
The Mayor of Morpeth Jack Gebhart brought the greetings of the civic authority. He said the club should be proud of the work it was doing on the defibrillator project. He was pleased to recognise representatives of key Morpeth organisations in the audience.
Fund-raising for his own Mayor’s charity was doing well, with £10,600 raised for Tyneside and Northumberland MIND towards his target of £15,000.
Whatever was happening in the world, it was important for charitable and community groups like Rotary to keep going through good and ill.
The District Governor for Rotary clubs in the North East Stewart Atkin, of Durham Rotary, said it was vital to continue to make a difference in our local areas.
President Bob said he was pleased his children were there to see how the various service organisations in Morpeth came together socially and regularly work together.
It had been 55 years since he joined the RAF, where he had made good friends. Since he had come to live in Morpeth he had made many more friends, with a good number at the event.
He welcomed everyone and encouraged supporters and well-wishers to become members and join in the good work.
Prof Andrew Hamnett, with his usual wit and good humour, made a special address to welcome the President’s guests individually.
Assistant District Governor with special responsibility for Northumberland Stewart Blair said it had always been one of the nicest and friendliest clubs to visit and raised a toast to the club.
Principal speaker Malcolm Ashton regaled the group with stories of cricketing greats.
He was a cricket statistician and scorer and spent years working with BBC TV. He had been on many England cricket tours and in many a cricket commentary box. He had officiated at 250 test matches, 342 internationals, and had attended at 76 out of the 82 test grounds in the world.
He had met Bill Pringle, Brian Johnston, Fred Trueman, Trevor Bailey, Tom Graveney, Geoff Boycott, Jack Bannister, Ray Illingworth, John Agnew, Henry Blofeld, Phil Tufnell, Alec Stewart, Alan Mulally, Dean Headley and Darren Gough, though he was sorry to say that he had never worked with John Arlott.
He did once get invited onto Paul Getty’s yacht with a group of England cricketers in the West Indies.
President Bob again thanked everyone for their support and assistance.
The raffle in aid of Contact Mental Health in Morpeth had raised a much-needed £452.