Reviewing the membership of our Club over the years can be a fascinating activity, and thanks to our archivist PP Alan Forrest this is always possible for us to do through our biography books.
As each new member joins our Club, Alan asks them to complete a short biography form, the details of which are carefully copied by hand into the large, hardbound biographies book. These potted biographies are accompanied by a picture of the member (often taken by PP Roger Bickerton). The current biographies book is kept carefully by Alan alongside the first biographies book and other records in the archive that Alan maintains.
A while ago Alan carried the (heavy) biography book into one of our meetings, where it was browsed by various members. New members found it fascinating to see who had been members in our Club's past. There, they saw biographies of Lord Mayors, leaders of industry, farmers and agriculturalists, authors and writers, academics and educationalists, members of medical professions, retails experts, members of the legal profession...in fact members from very, very many different walks of life, representing the Club's diversity.
Since 2007 our Club has welcomed female members. Our first female member was local historian and author, Rotarian Marjorie Lyle, and it was interesting to note other changes since then, such as our first husband and wife couple, Rtns Alan and Dee Mepstead.
It was also interesting to hear from the 'older' members about their recollections of past members; we were reminded of various initiatives or activities that certain members had been responsible for. Current members also spoke about those who had left the Club or those who had, sadly, passed away. Some members had left and joined other Clubs around the country ... and we're delighted to still have contact with many of them. The 'older' members also found some mirth and amusement by looking at the pictures accompanying the biographies - either of themselves or of their fellow Rotarians in their younger years. Some members had hardly changed, while others were unrecognisable! It really was a fascinating compilation that gives insight into our Club and, to some extent, an insight into Canterbury.
More recently, Alan managed to 'dig out' the first book of biographies. Again, this proves to be a fascinating compilation of biographies. The starting date is unclear - sometime in the 1960s. Given that our club will soon be celebrating its 100th anniversary (in 2022), it was interesting to note that this first book contains three entries concerning Rotarians who joined in 1922 ... and quite a few others from the 1920s and 1930s.
You can also find our about our Past Presidents here; you'll see that many have given an useful summary report of their year as President (click on the links).
For those unfamiliar with our work: Members of our Club use their business & social skills for good in the community. If you'd like to know more about our Club or are thinking of joining, why not contact us via our web site first? Take a look at our news pages and our facebook page to see the types of activities we get involved in.
Picture: Rotarian Graham Bough, one of our 'newer' members, peruses the biography book. Picture credit: Rotary Club of Canterbury.