The Rotary Club of Dartmouth
The Rotary Club of Dartmouth
The Rotary Club of Dartmouth was formed in 1950 and its members will, next year, celebrate their Diamond Jubilee. Young, perhaps, in relation to those clubs formed in the first flush of excitement of Rotary after the Great War of 1914-1918. Yet not so young that they cannot sometimes eclipse the exploits of the founders of Rotary.
The first Community Service Project ever performed by Rotary was the erection of a public toilet in Chicago in about 1910, but the members of the Rotary Club of Dartmouth have no intention of trying to copy that feat.
Instead they have provided Shelterboxes containing tents, tools and equipment to provide the means for people to rebuild their lives after natural disasters. They have sent these to countries which have suffered tidal waves (Indonesia), earthquakes (Turkey & Pakistan) hurricanes (New Orleans), volcanic eruptions or simply squalor following disease or civil war after an attempted coup.
Contributions have been made to the post-war efforts in Ethiopia, Bosnia and Kosovo, and many other sites of conflict, and to MacMillan Cancer Care, WaterAid, Marie Curie Trust, SightSavers, RNLI, Dartmouth Caring - in fact anything that the members feel needs their support. The list is endless.
There are pleas coming in faster than they can respond, and sometimes it hurts to have to say “I’m sorry.”
The Rotary Club meetings are held weekly on Thursdays at the Royal Castle Hotel over a lunch, and sometimes include a talk by an outside speaker on a subject of general interest. Weekly meetings promote friendship and fellowship amongst the members, enhancing their ability to work as a team.
Rotarians have the right to attend the meetings of any other Rotary club in the world, and may also invite non-Rotarian guests to their own meetings. There is no secrecy, unless the members are discussing the plight of a specific unfortunate individual from their own locality whom they wish to help. That is understandable, surelye?
Membership is by invitation, and to ensure that the club represents the community there is a diversity of trades and professions in every club. This pool of talent and expertise can address most local concerns. You are invited to express an interest in membership, if what you see and hear on your visit encourages you to do so.
By harnessing the efforts of local people, and their willingness to give, The Dartmouth club has found ways in which it can help children orphaned by war, or whose schools are in need of books, computers, pencils, teachers or even just a new roof and a coat of paint.
By sending out qualified professionals, they have helped the blind to see, those lame from the effects of polio to be supplied with artificial limbs, and the deaf to cope with their lives. In fact in 1985 Rotary commenced a programme to rid the world of poliomyelitis by the end of the century.
Rotary may have failed to complete that task at the moment, but they have made one hell of a difference. In fact with a grant of over £200,000,000 from Bill Gates, which Rotary need to match, they aim to eradicate the disease within the next three years.
On the other hand, elderly local residents and young people in Dartmouth have been assisted, and club members have also hosted overseas students and organised “Young Chef” and “Youth Speaks” competitions for local children
The money that gives the club the ability to carry out all these projects (and too many others to mention here) is gathered in from donations, or by staging events like Race Nights, concerts, barbecues, fetes, Charity Golf Days and coffee mornings - even selling hot, roasted chestnuts at Christmas.
Then just by way for their amusement they join with the other Rotary clubs in Torbay for competitive sport of a light-hearted nature. Nothing too strenuous you understand? But if you play darts or bowls or petanque or ten-pin you could win the evening’s charity “pot” for your own club.
That’s FUN - and productive too !
If you would like to take lunch with the Rotary Club of Dartmouth to find out whether you might like to join in and help, give the President, David Morehen, a ring on 01803 782819.
First published September 2009 By the Dart