Rotary Club of Wallington; 84 Years of Service to the Community:
Not easily summed up in few words….
The Rotary club of Wallington was formed in 1933 by the co-ordinated and sterling efforts of Epson and Sutton Rotary clubs.
As with all new clubs the enthusiasm enabled the Wallington Rotarians to forge ahead. Membership rapidly increased and all the exciting challenges of community service and much needed assistance were successfully met. In a very short time so much was achieved. Many of the archive documents and photographs are still retained and reveal that the considerable press coverage was quite astounding, by today’s standards. All regular civic functions were fully supported and reported and our new club was prominently to the forefront of the Boroughs collective Rotary involvement.
Within the club was Spencer Hollands, who with his sheer vitality, personality and dedication was to soar to the dizzy heights of not only his own newly formed club Presidency, but also District Office and then even further to become National president of RIBI and an officer of Rotary International – possibly our club’s proudest moment. There were other founder members whose contributions were almost as impressive:
- Tom Booth, the Town clerk was Founder President, he guided the club with wisdom and charm
- Herbert Wells from New Zealand was Hon. Secretary for quite a few of the early years; he too was to become the club president. In 1991 as the solitary survivor of the founding members was asked to address the club at a special meeting. He spoke amusingly about his many memories of those long gone times. Sadly Herbert passed 3years later at the age of 95.
Our longest serving member is Gerry Booth who has served as President three times, firstly in 1997, 2003 and 2013.
As with everything in life, everything changes. The strong heart of Rotary remains the same. Possibly the physical shape and build has changed, as has society. In 2005 Rotary International celebrated the Centenary Year….There are still challenges to be met, perhaps the mountain of membership still needs to be climbed, as we do need to appeal to the younger people of our business community.
Below is a list of our modest contribution to International and Local efforts:
ü We in Rotary, through our own efforts have almost eradicated the scourge of polio; poverty is no longer the problem it was during the first half of the twentieth century, but there is still work to be done both locally, nationally and internationally. Many of the problems regrettably will always be beyond us.
ü We in Wallington Rotary have been instrumental in making water available in parched lands
ü We have participated in the provision of Limbs for amputees in Jaipur and Kulna
ü We have also been actively involved in many other worldwide schemes such as the Eye camps still requiring both physical and financial aids
ü We took part in the Ranfurly Library scheme for many years although that scheme does seem to have been overtaken by more recent international disasters such as the Asian Tsunami and devastating floods both in Pakistan and New Orleans in the USA.
Our current annual efforts are locally directed to the following laudable programmes. All funds raised through our fund raising activities are in support of local charities:
ü Kids day-out
ü Help for the elderly
ü Children’s Party for the disadvantaged
ü Scouts and other groups
ü Race nights
ü Jazz nights
ü Christmas Collections
ü Boxing Gala Dinner which is in its 32nd year.
We continue to do everything we can to match the great achievements of our early day members many of whom we still remember with high regard and admiration. Our present membership includes the son of a previous member, another whose father and grandfather were both members of our Wallington Rotary club and all serve the movement well.
Over the last 15years ladies have been welcomed into Rotary and what a fine job they have done. Our first lady president was Sheila Figget. Nam Mcreadie who was elected first ever Lady National president of RIBI five years later was from The Rotary Club of Feltham.
We in Wallington Rotary along with all other Rotary clubs understand the need to encourage younger people to join our organisation. Membership of Rotary opens up great opportunities to further develop social and vocational opportunities. The younger members we do have are a great inspiration to our long established club, as are those whose service over the years have been recognised by the means of Honourary Membership or Paul Harris awards. We are pleased to say many of our club members have held such honours over the years and many more will be held in equal esteem.