On Saturday evening Rotarians from our Club, together with friends and family, joined President Margaret Griffin at the Darwin Conference Centre at the University of Kent at Canterbury for a special Christmas Dinner to end the year.
They were joined by guests Reverend Dr Stephen Laird, Dean of Chaplains and Lecturer from the University (& Parish Priest in Blean), Rtn Rosemary Doyle, former Lord Mayor of Canterbury (representing the Mayor of Canterbury, who was unable to join us), Robert and Jan Newport, Chris and Svenja Powell, and Ulrich Gallenkamp (guest of Past President Richard Kemball-Cook), joining us from our fellow Pentangular Club, The Rotary Club of Lüdenscheid. Revd Dr Laird was our speaker for the evening and, as an academic, focussed on issues of education close to his heart - and of interest to us all - during his speech.
Participants enjoyed their meal to the accompaniment of Christmas crackers, streamers and balloons, and were entertained by bespoke wedding singer Alice Vane, who spread seasonal cheer with renditions of Christmas favourites including ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ and ‘Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas’. Other popular songs, such as Fred Astaire’s ‘Cheek to Cheek’, the Carpenter’s 'We’ve only Just Begun’, Elvis’ ‘Can’t help falling in love’ and Etta James ‘At Last’ gave guests a chance to sing along too!
The evening also gave the opportunity for two Paul Harris Fellowships to be awarded to Rtn Brian Dobinson and Past President Mike Talbot for their sterling service to the Club and Rotary, as well as the community, over the years. The list of their achievement is long, but recently Brian has been busy encouraging youngsters in their careers and of course he is heavily involved in the Innovation Competition which our Club runs on an annual basis - while Mike plays a magnificent role in fundraising by selling ducks in the build up to our Annual Duck Race at Westgate. Mike was Club President in our 75th year and, like us, is excited about our upcoming 100th year (in 2022). Further praises were also given to both.
President Margaret closed the evening with a brief reflection on our year and thanked to all involved in making the evening a success, particularly the catering staff and Past President Sharon Jordan who helped organize the event. And finally, we’re delighted to announce that we raised £330 for the causes that we support from our raffle. Many thanks to all that donated prizes.
Picture: President Margaret in the centre with Mike Talbot and his wife Jean to her right, and Brian Dobinson and Ulrich Gallenkamp to her left. Picture credit: The Rotary Club of Canterbury.