Saturday, 24 July 2021

Diamond celebrations for Henley Rotary Club

HENLEY Rotary Club has celebrated the diamond anniversary of its charter

HENLEY Rotary Club has celebrated the diamond anniversary of its charter.

A special dinner for past and present members was held at Leander Club with special guests including Mayor Lorraine Hillier and Rotary district governor Tim Cowling.

The guest speaker was Mike Sweeney, president of Henley Royal Regatta.

The club also hosted seven members and their partners from the Naestved Rotary Klub in Denmark with which the Henley club has had a friendship link since 1976.

The visitors were given a trip on the Thames on the historic umpire?s launch Consuta and lunch at the Flower Pot Inn in Aston.

Club secretary Phil Fletcher said: ?It was a very convivial evening. We all enjoyed being in the company of our friends from Denmark. Mike Sweeney spoke about his history with rowing and the history of the royal regatta, which was very interesting.

?We presented Naestved with a candle of friendship as we have a tradition of getting someone to light a candle and we said we hoped they would take the tradition back to Denmark. Naestved presented us with a figurine of a mermaid.?

The club?s first official meeting took place on February 25, 1955. In the preceding years there had been several unsuccessful attempts to form a Rotary club in Henley. Then in 1954, under the guidance of Rotarian Henry Colbeck, the district extension officer, another attempt was made.

Three potential members, Arthur Rowe, a local draper, Paul Rosewarne, who was a Freemason and involved with a number of local charities, and Sidney Martin, the manager of Lloyds Bank, showed interest and were invited to lunch in Maidenhead.

It was agreed the trio would meet weekly at the Catherine Wheel pub in Henley and so the club was born.

That first official meeting is said to have been launched on a sea of vodka left behind by a Russian crew competing at the royal regatta.

The visiting rowers were said to have been unhappy with their accommodation and were found a new place to stay by Reg Pearce, a new member of the club.

When the club?s membership reached the required number, an application was made for inauguration. The first elected officers were: president H P Rosewarne; vice-president J E Chalcraft, hon secretary L M Oeters and hon treasurer A S Martin.

The club was presented with its charter at a special meeting at the Catherine Wheel on July 25, 1955.

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