President Peter's Welcome: July 2015-2016

President Peter Hermitagephoto: Robin Hendy. Click/tap to enlarge 

I wonder how many organisations there are that have branches all over the world, have no bosses, are there to give rather than receive, draw members from every creed and culture and have common overriding aims of giving service to others. I doubt that there are many.

I have belonged to Rotary since 1998 and I know that with these attributes brings a great sense of fellowship to its members. The Rotary Club of Canterbury, formed 93 years ago, has over sixty members and a proud history of helping others. As its President for the ninety fourth year, it is both a pleasure and a responsibility to work with fellow Rotarians to deliver the motto of Rotary: Service above Self.

A key strength of Rotary is the diversity of its membership.  The Canterbury Club is made up of men and women from a wide range of professional and personal backgrounds who bring different perspectives to our work in helping local community based initiatives, international projects and vocational schemes.  In my professional life as a police officer and chairman of various public bodies I have seen how voluntary service groups can make big differences to society through generosity of time, money and spirit.

Over the next twelve months the Club has a range of fund raising schemes that include our now well established annual duck race and the Top Choir Kent competition – you can read more about those elsewhere on our website. Every penny that we collect will go to meet need whether it is by responding to requests from Canterbury charities, providing aid in disaster areas across the globe, working within the broader Rotary community to eradicate polio or helping young people locally to do things that they would otherwise find difficult.  You will find Rotarians from our club manning the BBQ at the hospital fete, running a public speaking competition, helping on Poppy Day and responding to need on a week by week basis. Add to that the hands-on involvement with a project to assist education in South Sudan (where we are working with four Rotary Clubs in Europe) and you will see proof of service above self.

During my year ‘in the job’ I am looking forward to the fellowship that comes from not only giving service but also from being a Club that actively enjoys a vibrant social life. We have planned a celebratory dinner to mark the end of World War 2, a full speakers programme and much more besides.

For our Club to continue its good work, we need to build upon the links that we have with others whether that be colleagues in the Rotary movement, sponsors or people who seek our help. And we also need to explore ways in which we attract new members so that we can continue the legacy that is the Rotary Club of Canterbury. If you are interested in joining Rotary or know of somebody who might, click HERE.

Peter Hermitage QPM

Wednesday 8th July 2015

Published by: The Rotary Club of Canterbury

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