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2011-12 Club joint-visit with the Rotary Club of Navan to the site of the Battle of the Boyne

Banbridge President Gerry McElvogue and Navan President Sylvester Rowe

2010-11 President Joan Davis presents a cheque to NSPCC


Past President & Past District Governor Frank Arnold presented Past President John Dawson with a personalised blackthorn walking stick at his last meeting as a member of the club (following his recent retirement), and President-Elect Joan Davis presented his wife Jenny with a bouquet.

Photos courtesy of Byrne Photography, Banbridge
Before presenting the gift, Past President Frank addressed the club and expressed sadness that John was moving to the Rotary Club of Comber. It made sense as he was no longer travelling to Banbridge on a daily basis. One of Rotary’s great strengths is that any Rotarian can move to another Club and find the hand of fellowship there.

He paid tribute to John for the tremendous 20-years service he has given to Rotary and the Banbridge Club in particular, stating that he was a wonderful example to all by his commitment and had fulfilled nearly every Club office at one time or another during his 20-years.

Frank also highlighted his regular attendance at District Council and District Conferences as an example not only to the Executive of the Banbridge Club, but to every club in District. John had also been a marvellous District Secretary and had also served District for two years as Assistant Governor (making a personal choice not to run for District Governor) and proudly was a Paul Harris Fellow.

John served two spells as President of Banbridge and it will also be remembered that he designed the Club Web Site (twice voted the best in District 1160 Ireland) and keeps it updated – something which is a constant source of information and indeed pleasure.

Frank concluded by stating what fantastic ambassadors for the Rotary Club of Banbridge John and Jenny have been over all the years, what an example he had been during his twenty years and thanked John for his unfailing helpfulness at all times and for his friendship.

For his services to Rotary at District and British Isles level, Past District Governor Frank Arnold receives his second Paul Harris Fellowship award from President Ken Forbes. Also pictured are Frank's wife Vianne and Assistant Governor David Finan.

Every year we have a new President of R.I.B.I. (Rotary International in Britain & Ireland) and he usually spends a few days in Ireland to meet as many Rotarians as possible.
President David Fowler (centre) was just passing through Banbridge, but he did not want merely to drive past. Instead he showed a desire to plant a tree.

On the right with the R.I.B.I. President is Past President Victor Jennett.

The opportunity was not lost to honour one the local Rotary Club's finest servants, Hugh Rice.

The Rotary Club of Banbridge welcomes the Chief Constable Matt Baggott  

From left
George McCaigue, Raymond Pollock,Victor Jennett, Dennis Livingstone, Chief Constable Matt Baggott, David Elliott, Nigel Jess, Ken Forbes

From left
Robin Mowbray, Gerry McElvogue, Chief Constable Matt Baggott, Ken Forbes, Victor Jennett, Joan Davis, Eddie Carr

May 2010
Thanks to the generosity of staff in the Banbridge Tesco store raising £2,000, the local Rotary Club were able to supply four more Shelter Boxes, taking the club's total to twelve to help in the relief work in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.

The funding for two of the twelve shelter boxes was raised by Saint Patrick's School in Keady.

A Shelter Box contains basic provisions for 10 people and includes a tent, water purification kit, sleeping mats and blankets, a stove and cooking supplies. So far, more than 7,000 ShelterBoxes and relief tents have been distributed in Haiti and many more will be arriving within the next few weeks of the photo being taken.

Angela Campbell from the local Tesco store said: "The staff were all very moved by the devastation in Haiti and felt they had to do something tangible to help. It will clearly be a long time before life can return to any sort of normality and people who have lost so much will need help for a long time to come. We felt that this could best be achieved through the practical support that the Shelter Box scheme offers".

In thanking Tesco for their generosity, the Rotary Club’s International Services Chairman, Gerry McElvogue said: "The Club is particularly grateful to Tesco for this gesture. The rains in Haiti are due to arrive very soon and the ShelterBox tents will withstand heavy rain. Conditions in the camps are very poor with people living cheek by jowl, camping out on piles of rubbish, surrounded by rubbish and rotting waste. More and more tents are required and the consensus is that when the rains come there will be a second emergency"

In the photo, members of the Tesco Banbridge home shopping team hand over a cheque for £2000 to Ken Forbes President Banbridge Rotary Club. The team, led by Joanne Nicoletti, raised £1500 through a disco in Banbridge football club while a further £500 was raised in store through the ‘Have a Heart of Haiti’ promotion on Valentines Day. All the money will go towards Rotary International Haiti Disaster Appeal. Included are Rotarians John Dawson, Nigel Jess and Eddie Carr.

The staff of Tesco's Banbridge store had decided to do something on Valentine's day 2010, and they raised £2,000 towards the Shelter Box appeal for the Haiti earthquake disaster. They contacted us to ensure that their money made its way swiftly to the right quarters. This will provide shelter, rest & cooking facilities for four families or for up to 40 people.  

This Rotary Club had recently sent off £2,000 to buy 4 Rotary shelter boxes for some Haiti homeless people.
We are especially indebted to the staff and pupils of Saint Patrick's School in Keady, who raised a further £1,000 for the people of Haiti, and decided to invest it in two more shelter boxes. The money was the result of a non-uniform day organised by the Geography Department.

The Rotary Shelter Box was the brain child of an English Rotarian a few years ago. It was designed to provide immediate response to people who have lost everything in a natural disaster. Each box contains a disaster relief tent that houses 10 people, blankets, a stove, cooking utensils, tools and other essential items including water purification tablets. Since its introduction and by 2010, over 57,000 boxes have been distributed worldwide.
It was recently described by a leading Charity Operations Manager as "the best aid package I have seen in my 20 years of disaster relief experience". The cost effectiveness of £490 per box is evident in that 10 people can be provided for at a cost of 31 pence per day. 

The Rotarian's name is Tom Henderson and he received an OBE in the Queen's 2010 New Year Honours list.

The members of Haiti's 16 Rotary clubs would ensure that the 200 boxes arriving imminently are deployed effectively to the thousands of homeless in need. Already there are 1,000 boxes on the way to Port-au-Prince. 

June 2010
Past Presidents John Dawson (standing) and Victor Jennett helped to raise over £500 for the Rotary worldwide polio appeal.

(Below) Christmas dinner 2009

The fight against Polio
Konnie Huq (not in photo) was invited to appear on  BBC News 24  programme on Sunday 22 November 2009 from 8:00am to talk about her National Immunisation Day visit to India very recently, when she represented Rotary’s Thanks for Life - End Polio Now campaign.

Below, on the same subject, are Rotarians Gerry McElvogue (right) and Uel McCrea trying to give away a brand new Peugeot 107. Some of the proceeds from our car ballot will support the ongoing work (started by this organisation in 1985) to rid the world of Polio. The Northern Ireland Hospice will also benefit from our efforts.  

Polio is now endemic in only four countries (2009 - since reduced to three) in the world - we will never have a better chance to finish the job!

Our thanks for the opportunity to offer the car ballot tickets go to Tesco and Centra.

District Governor Tom Murphy with President Hugh. On the right is 2010-11 President Joan Davis, and on the left, Doreen McBride. Past President John Dawson is in the middle. (Photo courtesy of the Banbridge Chronicle)

District Governor Tom Murphy receives a gift from President Hugh Rice to remind him of his official visit to the Banbridge Club.

Rotary worldwide is one big family and it is always a delight to welcome visiting Rotarians to a club meeting. This time, Past President George McCaigue visited the Rotary Club of Hollis in Brookline, New Hampshire.

Here, George is presenting newly elected President David with a District 1160 (Ireland) tie depicting the four Irish provinces of Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught.

The Hollis club meets at 07:30 for breakfast, and George was made to feel very welcome.

The year 2008-09 is completed, and the club has again been punching above its weight in raising funds for charitable causes - the total last year £7,500 and the main beneficiaries were Freeplay radios for Zambia (£2765), Northern Ireland Hospice, Northern Ireland Kidney Patients Association, Alzheimers Society (£750 each), Rotary Foundation (£2,000) and the Rotary Polio Challenge - supported and sponsored by Bill gates - to finish the eradication of polio from this earth (£700). 

The Presidential Citation was earned year by the club from the Rotary International President - for its outstanding efforts to reduce child mortality and Make Dreams Real for the world's children.


On Friday 20 May, the Principal of Banbridge Academy, Mr Raymond Pollock, himself a Banbridge Rotarian, handed over a cheque for £2,500 to the President of Banbridge Rotary Club, Joan Davis on behalf of the pupils at the school as a contribution towards the purchase of Shelter Boxes. This enables the Rotary Club to pay for the cost of five shelter boxes. A significant sum had been added to the total by our upper-sixth pupils who donated the balance of their formal funds to the project.
These Shelter Boxes are held in store and are then ready to be used in any emergency in any part of the world where a request is made for Shelter Boxes.
Also present was the Banbridge Rotary Club International Services Chair and incoming President, Gerry McElvogue who stated that he was simply delighted with the generosity of the pupils of Banbridge Academy towards this very worthwhile international project. He paid tribute to the school’s principal and all of the pupils who contributed so generously to this: it is simply an incredible achievement, he said, and the school is to be highly commended for the efforts of all those involved.
What is a Shelterbox (click here)?

February 29 2008 President's Night. This took the form of a Corporate Dinner and was one of the most successful evenings in the club's history. 
Pictured: President George McCaigue with his wife Anne

President George with the Club’s first “second generation” Rotarian Sharon Molloy

District Governor Ray Cosgrave with his wife Breege

President George with Irish Rugby star Rory Best

Charities to benefit from the considerable surplus are Cancer research (£1,000), Southern Area Hospice (£1,500) and the Rombo Project (£500), and the East Timor project £500).

2007-08 President George visits the Rotary Club of Tenerife, not for the first time but the first as president of his club, and presents a gift of Irish Linen to the President, Rafael Garcia. George is explaining in the photo that the linen was woven in Banbridge.

The Banbridge bannerette in the Tenerife club’s British Isles showcase.

2006-07 ended on a high for the club when outgoing President John Dawson presented a Paul Harris Fellowship to Clifford McSpadden, who thought of and made happen the fantastic response from Banbridge to the people devastated by the Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. A Paul Harris Fellow is the highest award a Rotary club can award to anyone, Rotarian or not. 
Also pictured is Clifford's wife Joanne, Vice-President George McCaigue and Past President Victor Jennett.

Through his church connections Clifford made immediate contact with a missionary in South East Asia and established exactly what was imminently most needed - the answer came "clothes" not money but five specific categories of clothing. Over a matter of days, enough for four plane loads made their way from the town to the stricken area. A sum of £35,000 was also raised, which helped greatly in providing the means of temporary accommodation to those who had lost absolutely everything.
Clifford would be inclined to play down his involvement, and received the award "as an acknowledgement of what we can do when we simply step out in faith and follow God's direction."

One of our Rotarians, Raymond Pollock, teamed up with two friends and fellow Rotarians Trevor Guy (Lisburn) and Trevor Green (formerly Lisburn, now residing in Scotland). They had a sponsored cycle ride to coincide with the RIBI Rotary Conference in Belfast in April 2006 and raised £2,000 for the charity - which will provide “hearing dogs” for a number of people with poor hearing (basically the dogs provide the ears for contingencies like a door bell or more importantly for an emergency)
We were delighted to send off a cheque for £1060 to the Rotary Club of Carlisle as part of this fund raising.

2005-2006 Charity donations
Acting President Hugh Rice presents the cheques to representatives of the charities


The Rotary Club of Banbridge embarked on a new venture on 24 November 2005. We staged a Centenary Concert to celebrate the beginning of a second century of Rotary International.
The theme of the concert was "LOCAL" - local talent for a local audience for local charities.

The charities had already been agreed and they are: the Southern Area Hospice, Cancer Research, Spina Bifida (local area), St. Vincent de Paul and Banbridge & District Carers.
The well known comedian Gene Fitzpatrick acted as compère, and the venue was the Banbridge Leisure Centre (7:30PM).

We managed to raise £2,000 which was handed over to the five charities at our December 13 meeting, and we would like to thank everyone who supported us by attending. Our sincere thanks also go to Gene Fitzpatrick, Norman Brown and Billy Chambers who made everything happen.
From left: President Louis Boyle, Council Chairman Jim McElroy, Gene Fitzpatrick, Rotarian Nigel Jess

Charity cheques for 2004-05

Charities benefiting, although not all represented above, were Men Against Cancer (left), Victim support, NI Cancer Fund for Children, Chest, Heart & Throat Association, Southern Area Hospice, Cancer Research Northern Ireland, Love for Life, St. Vincent de Paul, Gateway and Rotary Foundation.


Left photo: Outgoing President Louis Boyle congratulates Eddie Carr on becoming President

Right photo: Outgoing President Eddie Carr (right) congratulates Robin Mowbray on becoming President for 2004-05

Photo below:    Main guests at the 25th charter dinner, March 2006 (From left, standing, President Eddie Carr, District Governor Martin Molony, Vice President John Dawson, Chairman of Banbridge District Council Jim McElroy, Past President and Founder Member Ralph Bauer, President of the Rotary Club of Newry, Neil Tate, Vice President of the Rotary Club of Renfrew Eddie Williams, President of the Rotary Club of Navan, John Craig. Partners seated from left, Alice Carr, Past President of the Rotary Club of Dublin Central, Alva Hope-Ross, Jenny Dawson, Evelyn McElroy, Ann Bauer, Sue Tate, June Williams, Kathleen Craig.



We wish to express our greatest admiration for the team of people from the Banbridge area responsible for the wonderful work in sending four plane loads of essential supplies to Indonesia - the first truck left Banbridge on the evening of Wednesday 05 January, and the others left in the following two weeks.

There was also a great need for financial contributions and to this end the Rotary Club of Banbridge joined forces on Saturday January 08 with the local Lions and Round Table Clubs to maximise the impact of the collection of money. We were at Tescos Supermarket, SuperValu, Centra and Town Centre all day.

This was a "first" for the three service organisations in the town and the amount raised was £7750. The money will find its way right to the heart of one of the worst hit areas, a 40 family village in Sri Lanka. Ken Kissick gave up 2 weeks of his life to go there and give his paramedic services, and he gave the club his account on 15 February.

Kenny is a paramedic and decided to take his services to one of the worst hit areas, and after some administration frustrations he set off with two paramedics, four nurses and a surgeon to the village of Thal Aramba, which is near Matara on the south coast of Sri Lanka. They made contact with the local Round Table, so they knew they were going where they would be badly needed. They also had with them 28 cases of medical equipment.

They found the local hospital to be very inadequately equipped, but they were surprised to discover that, while hospital treatment was free, the local people were loath to avail of it – because of a belief that 70% of patients did not survive the experience; they also were reticent to see a doctor. They found people with horrific injuries and many suffering from trauma. They found a fishing people who were afraid to return to the sea, and who had lost their desire for fish. They found one village where only 12 of the 120 inhabitants had survived, and they met one man who was the sole survivor of a family circle of 46. Refugee camps in the area dealt with 800 per day – most with serious injuries.

Kenny described it as a Life Changing Experience and the only way he could bring himself to leave, was to make the decision to come back again with more supplies and funds. His group has already doubled the above sum and is hoping to raise a total of £40,000 before 08.04.05 when they are booked to go back again.

The name they have chosen for their group is "Bring Back The Smile"

Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland have sent £6.5 million to the affected areas, and this money was distributed via known contacts.
Also sent from across the British Isles were:
5000 aqua boxes (equivalent to 60 million litres of safe drinking water)
4800 Shelter boxes
Countless Emergency boxes


Past President and Immediate Past District Governor Frank recently travelled to Zambia to see for himself the results of our District's efforts in the Freeplay Radio Project. (See further down this page)

Last year District 1160 (Ireland) raised £82,000 which purchased 2300 of these radios (which can be operated without batteries). In a country where approximately a quarter of children under 15 years of age have lost one or both parents to AIDS, many of these children cannot attend school because of poverty or long distance. So the plan was to take school to such children.

The first photo shows Frank handing over a consignment of radios to a school, while the second shows a mentor and class receiving a broadcast on their freeplay radio.

These wind up and solar powered radios can play a major role in educating local people in Zambia. Previous attempts to educate by radio have been frustrated by the lack of electricity and the cost of batteries, but these radios do not require either of these power sources.

With a Freeplay radio, orphans and street children can hear important messages e.g. about AIDS

£35 buys a radio. The Club provided more than two radios per Rotarian (in part due to a generous contribution from Banbridge Academy.)


Burns Night (photos on our Renfrew page)

Our friends in the Rotary Club of Renfrew helped us to host a Burns Night on Saturday 31st January 2004 in the Seagoe Hotel, Portadown, and what a night it was! The food and fellowship were superb and a large gathering were treated to an evening of history, poems and songs about the life of Robbie Burns.

We were most fortunate that R.I.B.I. President Brian Stoyel had planned his District 1160 visit for the same weekend, and we were delighted when he agreed to come a day earlier to be our guest of honour.

Every ticker carried a £5.00 surcharge for one of Brian's preferred projects, REMIT, and the Rotary Clubs of Banbridge and Renfrew jointly presented Brian with a cheque for £1,200 before the end of the evening.

Time was also taken to make a very special acknowledgement of the work, on behalf of the Rotary Foundation, of Rotarian and Assistant Governor Howard Caskie of the Rotary Club of Limavady . Howard was presented with a Citation for Meritorious service by RIBI President Brian Stoyel.  

2003-04 Spread & Save

This was an R.I.B.I.* project where every Rotarian in the British Isles bought a half-pound jar of marmalade for £1.00 - net proceeds to Rotary Foundation.

Then the jar became a money box for our small change. The contents of our jars amounted to £800 which will also go to Rotary Foundation, but specifically to Polio Eradication.

(* Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland)

From left: Past President Billy Ferguson, Past President and District Governor Frank Arnold, President Eddie Carr, Rotarian Brian Minnis and Trevor Bernard (Manager of Texcos, Banbridge)



We supported this District project in 2001-2002 and it was completed when 64 pregnant heifers and one District Governor were airlifted to Africa on 06 February.

In keeping with tradition each heifer will have its own name, so what better for Banbridge than Rosie McCann (The Star of the County Down). If that means nothing to you, follow the link at the bottom of our Banbridge page!

The project last year was shared with The Abercorn Primary School and their effort raised £1,200 for an in-calf heifer including the cost of her transport to a family in Africa.

The first heifer born to a donated animal is passed on to another family so that the benefit is multiplied year by year. The family keeps all subsequent stock, and will in time build up a herd sufficient to sustain them and so improve their quality of life.

In 2002-03 we contributed £1100 to this excellent project, and we have the pupils of Banbridge Academy to thank for this.

20th ANNIVERSARY OF CHARTER (See our photo album)

The Rotary Club of Banbridge held it’s 20th anniversary celebrations in the Bannville House Hotel on 25 May 2001 and were joined by friends from all over Ireland and Scotland including Rotarian Erik Werner and his wife Gunn from Norway who happened to be visiting the country at the time.

Founder President Eddie Davidson was invited to recall some of the early days of the formation of the club culminating in a trip down memory lane with some photos – all of which and more can be found on this website.

The occasion was marked by the introduction of a new club banner for display at this and all future club functions. The banner was presented by Past President John Dawson, on this occasion representing Fergusons Irish Linen. Past President John commented on the importance of linen to the early development of the town and went on to give some background to linen damask weaving before formally presenting the 100% Irish Linen banner to Club President Victor Jennett.

Paul Harris Fellowships were conferred on three people present:
Sadie Beck who after a life’s work in nursing (mostly in midwifery in Banbridge) had also given 15 years of her life to Cancer Research.
Brendan Byrne, local photographer had worked unstintingly for most of his adult life for Spina Bifida.
Past President Ken Forbes received his PHF for 18 years in all avenues of Rotary service including the past 3 years as club secretary.

District Governor Danny Fay complimented the club on its excellent record in its first 20 years and wished the Rotary Club of Banbridge every success in the future. He then went on to entertain those present with a spell of joke telling which left some wondering if he didn’t have a second calling.

Founder President chairs the weekly meeting
For old time’s sake Founder President Eddie Davidson chaired the last weekly meeting before the Charter Night itself and in a brief summary illustrated how small the world really is. On holiday in Sydney once, he went to a Rotary meeting and was asked where Banbridge was, only to find that one of the members present hailed from the town. A similar thing happened to him in Honolulu where a member there chipped in with a different answer to the same question "it’s 15 miles south of Belfast". The same club had a tradition of giving a memento to the visiting Rotarian who had travelled furthest to Hawaii. PP Eddie held up the Honolulu Boat which he had received ahead of a surprised Japanese Rotarian.

Founder President Eddie ended an interesting look back at 20 years with the conclusion that for him the most rewarding thing about being a Rotarian was the opportunity to visit other clubs around the world.

Chernobyl Children (2001-02)

It is now 15 years since the tragedy at Chernobyl and still the children suffer. District 1160 has undertaken to help, and this club will contribute in a fund raising exercise aimed at providing a holiday in Ireland for 20 terminally ill children; sending nurses to attend children in psychiatric hospitals in Russia or to purchase second hand ambulances.

The children, aged 9-14, arrived in our country on 5th September 2001 and stayed at Barretstown Castle for ten days followed by a week in Kinsale. Their doctors have since reported a great improvement in the children's demeanour on their return, and reckon their lives were extended by up to 2 years as a direct result of the holiday.

Along with many clubs we have given our support to the venture both financially and by contributing some of the following: toys, jewellery, toiletries, food, educational items, souvenirs and clothes. At very short notice an ambulance was filled to the roof with such items at our District Conference in Tralee in September and £500 has been committed to helping further.

This donation brought the contribution of District 1160 (Ireland) to £10,000 which was handed over to the Charity on 23.03.02. It has already been committed to the purchase of a second hand minibus which will be used to transport to and from their hospital in Belarus for the partially sighted - at present the children are taken in an open truck fitted only with a mattress.  (Click here for more info)

Lumberjacks - not quite (2001-02)

Our first project was actually almost completed before the start of the new Rotary year. The club had been approached on behalf of the elderly residents of Legion Court, Banbridge to fell a number of trees which were spoiling their view. A team of 5 Rotarians managed over a number of hours, and not without occasional bouts of anxiety, to fell and remove 7 trees. Fading daylight and possibly tiredness interrupted proceedings and the job was finished over three evenings.

All this was in the name of service to our community: unexpected appreciation came from the tenants in the form of £100 towards our future work.

A group of Rotarians in Banbridge responded to a request from the Warden of Legion Court, a sheltered housing community in the town.

About 20 years ago when the site was being developed, a large number of young trees were planted – mainly Austrian Pine. Unfortunately these trees, although very beautiful, simply grew too fast and many were too close to and/or directly in front of windows. They were blocking what was and is again a wonderful view across the town and left many of the tenants in the dark, so to speak.

The warden, Mary Nicholl OBE sought and received approval from the trustees to remove some of the trees but then contractors’ costs were simply too high. At this point an informal approach was made to the Rotary Club of Banbridge and a small group of Rotarians came for an inspection.

On three consecutive evenings in June, President Billy Ferguson wielded his chain saw with remarkable skill and the first part of the job was done. They were gathered up by Past Presidents Victor Jennett and Hugh Rice and by Rotarians Louis Boyle and Eddie Carr and transported to the Council Amenity site for conversion to garden compost.

Apart from the service to this community of elderly residents it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for the Rotarians involved, and certainly saved the charity a lot of money.

The photograph shows President Billy on the saw, PP Victor on the lorry and Rotarian Eddie on the road.

Youth Leadership Competition (2001-02)

Following in the tradition of District 1160 (Ireland) Emily Neill was elected as Leader of her group in Strasbourg. There were 340 young people from 12 countries; they were divided into 5 groups and charged with electing a leader. Three of the other groups also elected an Irish spokesperson and 17 of the 22 questions put to Parliament were from the Irish group.

Also each country's representatives were asked to select one of their number to introduce their compatriots - this had to be done in another language! Emily was selected to present the Irish contingent and chose to do so in Spanish (photo on our YLDC page)).

Emily addressed the club on April 23 and spoke of the most amazing 6 days of her life; highlights being the meeting of the Irish group (she literally has the tea shirt), evening tour in Paris, dinner on the Champs-Elysées, Notre Dame, visit to a champagne vineyard, a snow fight in the Black Forest and topped off by a fascinating and most rewarding time in the Parliament in Strasbourg.

In his vote of thanks Rotarian Dennis Livingstone described Emily as a great ambassador for the club, the town and the country.

The project produced seven School winners and one Club winner who progressed to the Regional Finals. Winners at local level win a prize of £100 for their school or youth organisation.

The Regional Finals resulted in yet another winner from a Banbridge school going on to the final stages and securing an all expenses paid tour to participate in the Euroscolar Programme at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Marks and Spencer and the European Parliament were joint sponsors of the programme, which was aimed at local schools and youth groups with young people in the age range of 15-19.

2001-02 District Governor Robert Warren joined us on January 22 and he not only received a warm welcome, he contributed to a very enjoyable meeting.

DG Robert complimented the club on its projects about which he had been updated before the meeting itself. He was accompanied by Assistant Governor Crawford who is no stranger to Banbridge; indeed DG Robert himself was making his third visit.

The need for Rotary's product, he said, was greater than ever in a world where 40,000 children die every day of starvation or the effects of malnutrition.

Recruitment is a major aim within Rotary and we heard a number of fine examples of Rotary in action e.g. the Bóthar project and the Polio Plus Campaign - both of which are described elsewhere on this website. It is hoped news of such work will encourage others to join in our fellowship and contribute to making a difference in our world.


We have recently reacted favourably to a similar request from the Rotary Club of Fairbanks in Alaska. As a Rotary Foundation Fundraiser they plan to auction off items from Ireland on their St. Patrick's Day Fundraiser on Thursday, March 14, 2002. They are planning a dinner event with "some awesome Irish food" - bet they could not do it every day for a week!

We were also recently delighted to receive a boxful of goodies to help us with our future fund raising.

By coincidence we also fielded a request from the Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown in District 3060 in India. They are trying to set up a dolls museum there and I quote from their President's e-mail: "This unique project is envisaged to bring a smile to thousands of poor and slum dwelling children in our region having a population of one million people". We obliged with something typically Irish.


On 27 November Past District Governor Edwin Dunlop came from Bangor to speak to the club about the Tall Ship Sailing Trust which provides the opportunity for the disabled (and able-bodied) to man one of these vessels at sea. Yes, that means what it says - including being winched to the crow's nest! Edwin was not expecting to meet a former client, because the Club had invited Jim Corbet and his wife Alvine to the meeting. Jim had taken advantage of one of these working holidays at an earlier date.

The club made a donation of £250 to PDG Edwin to help someone else have this once in a lifetime experience.

Book Aid International (2000-01)

Book Aid International provides over 750,000 books each year to support literacy, education, training and publishing in more than 60 countries around the world with over 85% of their books going to 13 countries in sub Saharan Africa.
The books were collected by Rotary Clubs as far away as Dundalk, and sorted and stored by Past President John Dawson at his place of work.

This is a quote from a letter to Book Aid International:

"Our initial reaction was one of wonder, as the books are all new and so appropriate for our purposes." (From the Integrated Centre for Employable Skills, Uganda)


One of the nicest things about being in Rotary is the people you meet; then there's the people you haven't met yet!? Through this electronic medium we were contacted by the Mesa West Rotary Club in Arizona. On 17th March 2001 they hosted their first Annual St. Patrick's Day Pancake Breakfast and Silent Auction. This is a partnership project between Mesa West and Rotary Clubs of Ireland with proceeds going to children charities in east valley communities - the Irish Clubs participation was in the form of gifts for the Silent Auction.

Nearly 400 people came along to enjoy the auction, raffles, Irish step dancers and an impromptu "Wild Irish Rotary Band" - the mind boggles. A hearty breakfast was served by Rotarians, Interact Club members and Boy Scouts and a great morning was topped off with the knowledge that $3000 had been raised.


The pupils of Abercorn Primary School throw in their lot for the new Children's Hospice. All the pupils look on while President John Dawson is pictured with two of the children and the cheque for £2,540.