Rotary Club celebrates its golden jubilee

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THE LONG-standing BULWELL AND BASFORD ROTARY CLUB is celebrating its golden jubilee year.

And to mark the occasion, Dispatch correspondent Peter Jordan has delved into its history, dating back to the moment a plan to launch the club was hatched in 1961 by Bulwell resident Ernest Mugglestone, who was then the president of Nottingham Rotary Club.

After an approach by Mr Mugglestone to Bulwell businessmen John Dickinson, Rex Marshall and Leslie Crawley, they agreed to seek out the required 30 men to establish a new club.

Bank manager Mr Dickinson, road-transport manager Mr Marshall, estate agent Mr Crawley and Bulwell exporter Frank Holmes were duly installed as president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary respectively.

At a dinner at the Welbeck Hotel in Nottingham in June 1962, Bulwell and Basford Rotary Club was welcomed to District 107 and presented with its first-ever charter.

One of the first members to be recruited was Ernest Elson, the landlord of the Newstead Abbey Hotel in Bulwell, which became the club’s headquarters. Joining fees were set at five guineas.

President Mr Dickinson outlined a strategy aimed at supporting vulnerable people in the local community and included getting schoolchildren to run errands for sick and infirm pensioners.

Provision was also made for deserving families to enjoy a seaside caravan.

The club joined forces with the Royal British Legion to provide a Christmas tree on Bulwell Market Place and in December 1962, Mr Dickinson took possession of a specially-made banner for exchanging with clubs at home and abroad.

The crest included the famous bull at the well, signifying the origins of Bulwell’s name, and also incorporated the three golden bears of Basford.

Among the club’s first guest speakers were World Cup football referee Reg Leafe and Labour MP William Whitlock. Its first honorary member was William Olds.

Fundraising has played a big part in the club’s history. A ‘donkey derby’ that brought in £168 in 1966 contrasts with a record £4,528 raised from Christmas sleigh collections last year.

The club’s first charity project took place in 1963 when a van was bought to provide a meals-on-wheels service. Its first twinning link was made with Randers Ostre, which is in Jutland, Denmark.

Many presidents have come and gone in the past 50 years with stalwart, Ron Benson, holding the office on three occasions.

In 1969, Neil Darroch was invested as the club’s chief and fittingly, 33 years later, his son, Malcolm, will wear the jewel of office as president for the club’s golden jubilee as well as its celebrations to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

OUR PHOTO shows John Dickinson (seated front, centre) with fellow founder members of the club.