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The Rotary Clubs of Banbridge and Renfrew were twinned in 1997 when Frank Arnold was President of the Banbridge Club. Frank had been invited into Rotary at Renfrew and on his return to Ireland he joined Banbridge. It seemed the most natural thing to twin the two clubs and fellowship has prospered ever since; the most notable occasions being outlined below.

Shortly after Renfrew's first visit, a Banbridge football fan, who happened to be in Glasgow for the weekend with his mates, fell ill. His friends were making plans in the hospital on Sunday, when one of them recognised a face at an adjacent bed. "Was your photograph not in the Banbridge newspapers lately?"

It transpired that he was one of the above Renfrew Rotarians and, on hearing their plight, he volunteered to stay in touch with their friend in hospital and see him safely to the airport when he was well enough to travel - Rotary in Action!

2006 (25th Anniversary of Charter, Banbridge)

Left: Six of the seven couples who made the trip to help Banbridge celebrate their 25th birthday
Right: Sunday lunch in Carrickfergus
Centre: The quaich presented to the Banbridge Club on the occasion of our 25th anniversary of Charter

Traditionally the "Quaich" which originated in the Scottish Highlands was used both for a "Cup of Welcome" and also when offering a farewell drink. The Quaich was originally made from the primitive "staved" wood, then later from horn or leather, eventually pewter and silver becoming popular as it became the favourite drinking cup throughout Scotland. Being derived from the Gaelic word "cuach" meaning "shallow cup" the distinctive design has remained unchanged over the centuries - a shallow drinking bowl with two handles colloquially known as "lugs".

The quaich adds to the "Candle of Friendship" of which each club has one - the candles are lit at every formal occasion. At the time of our twinning, Renfrew also presented the Banbridge club with a tartan cloth. This also is on display ever since at each formal occasion of the Banbridge club. The tartan itself was commissioned specially for the Rotary International Conference in Glasgow in 1996.

2004 (Burns Supper, Banbridge)

2003 (District 1160 Conference, Belfast)

The Banbridge Club are very proud of the fantastic support from Renfrew for District Governor Frank Arnold (yes, he's the one who started all this!) on the occasion of Conference 2003.

2002 (50th anniversity of Renfrew Rotary’s Charter) - a large party travelled from Banbridge to Renfrew on this special occasion
Below from left: President Jonathan Parkins with his wife Marilyn, his special guests, Frank and Vianne Arnold

2001 (20th anniversary of Banbridge's charter) - Banbridge Rotarians and members of twin club Renfrew (Scotland) visiting their second Town Hall in one day - earlier it was the City Hall Belfast meeting Mayor Sammy Wilson; here it was Banbridge Council Offices meeting Chairman of Council John Ingram
Seated (above from left)

Billy Ferguson, District Governor Danny Fay, Chairman of Council John Ingram, Jonathan Parkins, Barbara Stewart

Middle row (from left)

Frank Arnold, Narindar Singh, Janet McLaughlin, Mary Fay, Isabelle Moran, Pat McCutcheon, June Williams, Marion De'Sousa, Cathy Callaghan, Marilyn Parkins, David Stewart, Hugh Rice

Back row (from left)

Paul Singh, Ken Forbes, Eddie Carr, John McLaughlin, Mac De'Sousa, Ernie McCutcheon, Steve Callaghan, Tom Moran, Eddie Davidson, Eddie Williams

First Banbridge visit to Renfrew was the occasion captured here
From left (sitting): Paul Shepherd-Watson, Hugh Rice, Vianne Arnold, Janet McLoughlin, Frank Arnold, Dorie Shepherd-Watson, Millicent Ferguson and Willow Jennett

From left (standing): Elizabeth Meikle, John McLoughlin, Bob Meikle, June Williams, Eddie Williams and Billy Ferguson

The Twinning Chair combines the Rotary wheel, the names Banbridge and Renfrew, the Dove of Peace, a Celtic Cross, the thistle, the shamrock  and a symbol representing each town. It was hand-made from reclaimed wood by John McLaughlin of the Rotary Club of Govan (a former member of the Renfrew Club), and it takes pride of place on formal occasions where both clubs are represented. A book of cronies goes everywhere with the chair for memorabilia and autographs (click the photo for a better look).    

From left: President Frank Arnold, Vice-President Paul Shepherd-Watson from Banbridge, John McLaughlin (Rotary club of Govan), Past President Charles Newhands and President Bill Blakley from Renfrew

John McLaughlin (far right) explaining the various symbols on the chair to the delegates at Conference 2003


Included in picture are RIBI President Brian Stoyel, District Governor Frank Arnold, Alastair McFarlane, Isobel McFarlane, Steve Callaghan, Catherine Callaghan, Charlie Newlands, June Newlands, Donald McNeill, Isabelle McNeill, Bob Meikle, Elizabeth Meikle, Joe Watson, Margaret Watson, Ian McFarlane, Dorothy McFarlane, Fred Elliott, Ann Elliott, Jim Stewart, Jean Stewart, Jim Naismith, Ernie McCutcheon, Pat McCutcheon, Eddie Williams, June Williams, Vianne Arnold, John Dawson, Jenny Dawson, Darron Mark, Ken Forbes, Hugh Rice, Victor Jennett, Willow Jennett, Eddie Carr