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Histories of Clubs of RI Presidents
Rotary Club of Alford & Mablethorpe, Lincs, England
William H. Huntley, 1994-1995 (convention history)
THE ROTARY CLUB OF ALFORD AND MABLETHORPE
the late 1970’s an ultimately successful drive for new clubs was under way in
the then Rotary District 122 under the leadership of District Governor James
Randall (Newark) and his successor Bill Huntley (Stapleford and Sandiacre), you
will read much about Bill later in this history of the club. The club was
originally to be based on Alford but the area was quickly extended to encompass
Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea and the coastal strip together with another 40 small
hamlets and parishes covering a wide area.
The club banner portrays the still-working Alford five-sail windmill with the mermaid and porpoise representing the coastal area.
Meetings of the Provisional Formation Committee began at the George Hotel in Alford and the Resolution to Form a Rotary Club was signed on 7th November 1977 and the inaugural meeting of the Interim Rotary Club of Alford and Mablethorpe took place at the Lively Lady Hotel (now demolished), Kent Road, Mablethorpe on 27th February 1978; thirty nominees had been identified by this time.
The Charter was presented to the club on 2nd June 1978 by District Governor Bill Huntley and the Welcome to Rotary address was by RIBI President Nevil Tweedle of the Stockport Rotary Club.
The change of catchment area brought its own problems, it was too late to change the Presidential Jewel which only contained the name “Alford” and the name on the Charter Document had also been wrongly spelt.
One founder member recollects that early social events included summer family picnics at Well Vale and when ladies were allowed to attend evening meetings such as Christmas or “Handover” they were serenaded by club members, possibly the earliest Community Service project was the re-paving of the rear courtyard at Alford Manor House.
The Rotary Club of Alford and Mablethorpe covers a substantially rural and agricultural area stretching from the North Sea to the Lincolnshire Wolds; the population figures are low, Alford has around 4000 inhabitants and Mablethorpe and Sutton combined have around 12500; the remaining population is thinly spread over the many small villages and hamlets, there is little major industry and small businesses are mainly clustered around the three towns.
The Club started with thirty members and has maintained an average membership in the mid-thirties throughout the past thirty years.
The club has been served by many active and committed presidents, officers and members and has always maintained a high profile both locally and internationally and continues to play a considerable role in District, national and international Rotary affairs.
The Roger Mutton Fund
Over the years any club or organisation suffers loss when members, family or friends are called to higher service.
Almost certainly the most tragic event to befall our club was the loss of Roger Mutton; Roger, a local chemist and Past President of the club, lost his life in August 1990 at Amble, Northumberland whilst attempting to rescue his son from the sea; fortunately the boy was saved. Roger was posthumously awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship and a Royal Humane Society Bravery Award in recognition of his heroic efforts.
Members of the club determined that he would be remembered by the formation of the “Roger Mutton Fund”. The primary purposes of the fund were firstly to commemorate Roger’s life and service in Rotary and secondly to receive and apply future donations in respect of departed Rotarians whose names may then be added to the Memorial List.
The aims of the Fund are dedicated to “promote by financial award the educational, vocational or character developing activities of young persons aged seven to eighteen years, resident within the club’s geographical area on either an individual or group basis”.
Over the years this fund has assisted many local young people in their endeavours and as one of the club’s millennium projects a substantial donation was made towards an extension to the Meridale Youth Centre in Sutton on Sea.
NB In September 2007 John Monk MBE, the leader of the centre was made an Honorary Rotarian in recognition of over 40 years service to the community.
Photo upper right:
President of R.I. Bill Huntley with members of a Friendship Exchange team from his district, 1270, during their visit to Rotary Center, Evanston, in 1994. This photograph was taken in the President's room. Submitted by RGHF senior historian Basil Lewis, 31 May 2001 and posted by Jack Selway.
|The Bill Huntley Story|
The story of the late Bill Huntley MBE is written throughout the annals of Rotary International and space here cannot do justice to one of the most outstanding humanitarians and Rotarians.
Bill had presented the Charter to the Rotary Club of Alford & Mablethorpe in June 1978 and almost exactly ten years later on 1st July 1988 he sealed his connection with the club by becoming a member; he often said that he had personally chartered the club for his own retirement.
Bill’s personal history in Rotary is legendary; he was a Past President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland and became President of Rotary International for 1994/1995 and Chair of Trustees of the Rotary Foundation in 1999-2000. His Presidential theme was “Be a Friend” and we all remember the song that he took with him throughout that year “He ain’t heavy he’s my brother”. Club member Suresh Sudra had the honour of formally proposing him for RI President at the International Convention held in Melbourne, Australia.
He was awarded an MBE for services to Rotary and to the eradication of polio and was invested by the President of Venezuela with the Order of Simon Bolivar. Amongst his many awards and citations were the “Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service” the “Polio Plus Pioneer Award” and the “Polio Plus International Service Award”
The club’s outstanding support to Bill’s presidential year was ably lead by the “President’s President”, Len Taylor, and at the start of this RI Presidential Year the Alford and Mablethorpe Club launched a limited edition of a print from a painting by Jean Black, member of Alford & Mablethorpe Inner Wheel and wife of then President Elect David. The first of these prints were handed to Bill by members taking part in a Friendship Exchange with the “Home District” in Chicago during the Autumn of 1994 at 1 Rotary Centre, Rotary’s worldwide HQ. In addition to copies used as gifts by Bill during his year a large number of the run of around 700 were sold to benefit the Roger Mutton Fund.
In June 1995 many members of the club joined other District 1270 Rotarians in attending Bill’s RI Convention in Nice and what a great time was had by all; in fact due to an overbooked plane a handful not only got there for nothing but accepted £250 to join a different flight and even after stopping over in Paris they only arrived a couple of hours after everyone else.
One of many highlights was when three members, in front of an audience of 14,000, handed over the RI Presidential banner to members of the Rotary Club of Clearwater, Florida, home of the next RI President.
Bill died suddenly in February 2006 after many more years dedicated service and at a time when he was still making his own unique impact on worldwide humanitarian and Rotary affairs, in particular the emergence of Rotary World Peace Scholarships.
Bill’s legacy to the small rural club he loved was to leave it one of the most knowledgeable and committed clubs in support of Rotary Foundation on both a local and global scale
The Bill Huntley Endowment for World Peace Scholarships
During Bill’s year of RI Presidential office and initially from his own modest resources he established a “Pooled Fund” within the Permanent Fund of Rotary Foundation in hope of gathering sufficient funds to establish a scholarship in his name.
Following his death the Rotary Club of Alford and Mablethorpe determined that they would complete his work and make “Huntley World Peace Scholarships” a reality, the “Bill Huntley Endowment Fund” within the permanent fund of Rotary Foundation is now dedicated to provide scholarships through the Rotary Centres for International Studies programme.
The “Rotary Centres for International Studies” programme provides graduates the chance to study in a master’s level programme in conflict resolution, peace studies, international relations and other related disciplines at a number of universities across the world, including Bradford in the United Kingdom.
At the time of writing the Endowment Fund is moving towards $200,000; whilst $250,000 will make Huntley Peace Scholarships a reality $500,000 will lead to then being regularly available.
If reading this account of Bill and his club encourages you to support Bill’s Endowment please email David Black, Chair of the Working Group by using the following link dcbblack-at-btinternet.com for further explanation or information on how to donate.
What of the future? 2007 sees the 30th anniversary of the club and work is well advanced on an ambitious project to ensure the emergence of young, new members and the continuing work of this small club with historic connections in Rotary around the world.