Despite serious traffic problems in the whole of North West London on the evening of 28 September 2016, we had an excellent turn out for the official visit of the District Governor, Helen Antoniou, who also comes from our Club!
We had an update from our Community Service Chairman, John, on the widow that the Club is helping in our community, we heard about the Certificates of Appreciation received from REMIT (Rotarians Eliminating Maleria in Tanzania) and WaterAid, and we were reminded of the upcoming visit to the Pestalozzi Village in Seddlescombe, Sussex.
Then it was time for our District Governor, Helen, to speak to the 34 people in the audience. Helen started with a quick review of the goals of Rotary over the years as framed by the Rotary International President’s Themes. She thought that the current year’s theme “Rotary Serving Humanity” was as good as we have ever had. She then linked the work of the Council on Legislation in April 2016 to the goal of supporting and strengthening Clubs, and how the new rules offered opportunity to the clubs to grow their membership through local choices and flexibility.
If the public know nothing of Rotary, then the public are unlikely to join Rotary clubs. There are special opportunities this year, and Helen described some of the plans being formulated for the celebration of 100 years of the Rotary Foundation. In drawing comparisons between Rotary in 1905, the year when it all started, and today Helen showed how the founder of Rotary – Paul Harris – had much in common with young people today. She emphasised the opportunities for Clubs to tell their story using Social Media so that young managers and professionals get to hear more of what we do.
Lastly we need to increase the work that we do, and Helen went into the details of the “Purple4Polio” initiative and the support that we receive from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the UK Parliament. The guidance offered by Rotary International on branding and voice will ensure that Rotary presents a unified image and gets the credit we deserve for the work we do. In closing, Helen mentioned the Convention in Atlanta, USA and the national conference in Manchester and the District Conference in Eastbourne.
Our vote of thanks was proposed by President Eric.