In the years sitting “below the salt” I noted the sadism of Rotarians
electing members onto Presidential pedestal in order to use them for verbal
target practice. It seemed that the President can either duck and weave or
fire back. I decided on the latter for most of my time. As you might expect
the most accurate incoming fire was from the Past Presidents who could
recognise any tenuous coverings up or signs of pusillanimity having been there
The year saw two major events:
the centenary celebrated and the Indian Ocean rim tsunami disaster.
The centenary was a chance to work with others to make a difference in the
lives of local people. We decided to give a mini bus to the autistic children
at their centre Smart Kids. Potter’s Leisure Centre and The Lords’
Taverners joined us for this. The benefit was not only to the kids themselves
but to their parents and siblings who desperately need respite from the
invasive activity that autistic children manifest.
The response by the Club to the tsunami was like a beacon being lit on
the Club, Rotary, particular members and on the community of the Borough of
Great Yarmouth. The response was immediate, committed, co-operative, hard
working and effective. Devastated families on far sea coasts were sheltered
and supplied with clean water by people who did not know them. Lifted off the
painful edges of death and hopelessness the victims could concentrate on
grieving and rebuilding assured by the tangible evidence that others cared
enough to be on the beaches with them in the shape of tents and other life
supporting equipment. This was one of Rotary’s finest hours.
More paced and long term was the continued fight against Polio
involving hundreds of thousands of Rotarians across the world and their allies
as well as this Club’s interest in fortifying the work in Africa to combat
Tri-club activities were a great success and showed how you can change
the geography of the catchment area but the hallmark of each Rotarian remains.
The majesty of what we did that year shrivelled the irritation I had
frequently with Rotarians who can’t stop talking when the bell rings or who
can’t resist improperly adding ‘God bless her’ to the loyal toast or the
conversations that lead too often to the feeling that the Rotary may after all
simply be the Tory party at lunch.