Most people have heard of The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. Well, this morning we had A Rotarian (from Chester) who came to Coffee! It was very nice to meet him and thankfully, unlike the Tiger, he didn't eat everything up!
Regular readers will know that our Club decided to hold informal Zoom coffee mornings as a result of lockdown - we knew that many Members felt isolated while shielding and so on, and it was an opportunity to meet up informally and talk over a relaxed cup of coffee about whatever was on our minds, much like we would have done if we were meeting face-to-face (as we used to do).
We'd mentioned our coffee mornings on our social media in the hope that it might encourage others to meet up too, and soon after we were contacted by Rotarian Pete Fryer, Secretary of the Rotary Club of Chester. Pete has some past association with this part of the world and asked if he could join us - today he did. He joined our group of 7 or 8 coffee-drinking Rotarians, including President Alan Mepstead.
Naturally, we exchanged some chit-chat about our respective cities - Chester and Canterbury. There are of course many commonalities - both are Cathedral cities with a rich cultural history. In between personal anecdotes we gravitated to talking about our clubs' respective activities. While we (usually) hold an annual duck race fundraiser/ community event, we learnt that the Chester Club holds an annual fundraising raft race.
We were surprised (and delighted) to learn that, like us, Chester will be celebrating its Centenary next year. We are marginally older, having had our first meeting in February 1922. We spoke of our Centenary plans - most notably our plan to give a gift to the City of Canterbury in the form of a water bottle filling station/carved stone column (for which we have submitted a planning application). We said how we hope this will help reduce plastic waste significantly in our lovely City while, at the same time, being something that may attract tourists back into the town centre which we gather is very forlorn at the moment.
We also spoke of our Club's "regeneration" plans, spearheaded by Past President Peter Hermitage; Past President Harry Cragg told Pete how our Club had a history of embracing change. We were one of the first clubs in the area to encourage women to join, quite a few years back now. Currently our Club has around a dozen female members, who have brought great value in terms of new skills and outlook to the Club's activities.
A whole range of other topics came up during our chit-chat - the pandemic, tourism, golf, fishing, zoos and even animal husbandry! It was lovely to have Pete join us. As he's a member of the Rotary family, our President extended an invite to Pete to join us at future meetings and offered our greetings to RC Chester's President & its members on our behalf.
To find out more about the Rotary Club of Chester, click here.
More about the raft race here.
Picture: Eastgate Street in Chester makes us think of our own Westgate here in Canterbury. Picture credit: Vinsky2002/Pixabay.