It was 90 years ago to the day that a group of businessmen in Canterbury met at the County Hotel in the High Street for the Inaugural Meeting of the Rotary Club of Canterbury. So it was a case of “same date, same venue” albeit that the hotel is now named The ABode, Canterbury.
President Harry Cragg gave a warm welcome to District Governor Lynn Mitchell, and fellowship abounded among all those attending. It was an occasion to welcome 68 guests amongst whom were present-day members, including 18 Past Presidents (still members of the Club) and to welcome back three former Presidents, John Tyler (1965/66), Sidney Denham (2000-2001) and Richard Akister (2003-2004). This was also an opportunity to extend the hand of fellowship to three members-in-waiting, due to be inducted over coming weeks.
Invited guests included the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr. Ian Thomas, Honorary Member Michael Wright, President of the Inner Wheel Club of Canterbury Anne Arnold and representatives from the Rotary Clubs of Canterbury Forest-of-Blean, Canterbury Sunrise (daughter Club), Chestfield, Herne Bay, Margate (Mother Club) and Whitstable.
Special guest was Stephen Hunt, grandson of the Founding President and President Harry presented him with a book “Portrait of Canterbury” as a reminder of his visit.
In proposing the Toast to the Rotary Club of Canterbury, District Governor Lynn said she was delighted to be present at such a prestigious event and congratulated the members on their 90th Anniversary and for being a successful and vibrant Club, maintaining its membership and building on its firm foundations. She acknowledged their loyal support to the local community and to projects such as Polio Plus and work overseas. She encouraged the Club to keep Rotary in the public eye. Music was one of her themes for the year and she looks forward to visiting the Club again for the Final of Top Choir Kent in March.
The President-Elect of the Canterbury Sunrise Club, Jim Gascoyne presented the Club with a cheque for £90 from his members.
Anne Arnold, President of the Inner Wheel Club of Canterbury presented the Club with a special Anniversary Cake on behalf of her members.
The Club’s archivist, Rotn. Alan Forrest had produced an up to date history of the past 15 years – “Celebrating 90 years” - an extension to the last publication produced for the 75th Birthday. He gave a short presentation of the highlights of the Club’s more recent history to an appreciative audience.
The meeting closed with the final toast to "Rotary – the world over".
photos below by Robin Hendy
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left to right: Jim Gascoyne (President Elect, R.C. Canterbury Sunrise); Professor Michael Wright, Christ Church University; Lord Mayor Cllr Ian Thomas; District Governor Lynn Mitchell; President Harry Cragg; Inner Wheel President Anne Arnold; former District Governor Jeremy Voizey; Stephen Hunt (Grandson of Club Founder Wright Hunt)