08 July 2009 - Immediate
Former BT manager Richard Kemball-Cook is the new President of the Rotary Club of Canterbury. He took over from the outgoing president, David Barton, in the annual handover ceremony at the Club's weekly meeting last Tuesday (7th July).
Retiring President David Barton (left) hands over the presidential chain of office to Richard Kemball-Cook
Richard, 63, who lives in Harbledown, is a chartered accountant and retired from BT as a senior HQ financial manager in 2002. During the Cold War years he worked for the Ministry of Defence where he specialised in procurement. He also became an expert on government privatisations.
Away from Rotary Richard is married to Cora, a well known local Yoga teacher and he has three children; Laz (corr), Amy and Ashley. He’s a member of the Kent Sail Association where he races old Smacks – the traditional workhorses of the Kentish waters.
Richard is passionate about the impact Rotary can have internationally and last year visited India at his own expense to take part in the Rotary-backed polio immunisation campaign – PolioPlus. Projects he will be urging the Club to focus on abroad over the coming year include those helping to reduce child mortality rates in countries wracked by poverty and natural disasters by helping provide clean water supplies and education.
But local needs will also be a priority during Richard’s presidential year – particularly those associated with the Credit Crunch: “This is a disaster happening in our midst - we all know people who are affected”. He said. “As Rotarians we cannot let this disaster go unheeded. In our City those who give aid are stretched to breaking point, for instance the CAB debt councillors have a six month waiting list. To try and understand the needs of the local community better I am planning a conference later in the year to debate these issues and to examine how Rotary may be able to provide support.” He added.
Richard says he’s relishing his year as the Rotary Club’s top man: “Canterbury is one of the oldest Rotary clubs in Britain and I am immensely proud to have been become its President”. He added: “But it won’t be all work and no play. The Rotary Club of Canterbury has a fine record when it comes to fellowship and social activities and I will ensure we have a lot of fun as well”!