First Rotary Club of Each Country



Brief histories of the first clubs of each geographic region

Rotary Club of Guernsey, the First Club of The Channel Islands

Rotary International District 1110

Formed by Rotary Club of Bournemouth - 1923.

At its foundation, the club had many prominent citizens among its members. The 1923 List of Members and Classifications:

Adams C Hotel Manager, Royal Hotel.
Agnew C E A Ironmonger, Bordage.
Arnold S H Motor Car Dealer, Manor Place.
Barnett H Ship Owner, Candie.
Bean T R Inventor, Vale.
Beghin L C Footwear Specialist, High Street.
Beer W J Banker, Commercial Bank, High Street. TREASURER Blampied C B Bulb Grower, La Fosse.
Bird A G Tramways Engineer, Les Banques. VICE PRESIDENT Bird W J Commission Agent, The Pier.
Brice A H Jeweller, Arcade.
Brooks H Quarry Manager, St Sampson's.
Carey C de Lisle Medical Practicioner, New Street.
Carey Very Revd D F Dean of Guernsey.
Chilcott R J Butcher, Market.
Creasey B B Draper, High Street.
Collins H H Grocer, High Street.
Corbet J.T. Quarry Owner, Vale.
De La Mare W H Outfitter, Beehive.
De La Rue F H Chemist & Optician, States Arcade.
Edwards P H Poulterer, States Arcade.
Elliott A L Wine Merchant, Bucktrout & Co. VICE PRESIDENT Eveson J J Advertising Manager, The Star.
Falla C R Wireless Expert, Mont Plaisant.
Fuzzey L C Furniture Dealer, Mill Street.
Frossard Revd E L Clerk in Holy Orders, St Sampson's.
Gaved T Picture Framer, Arcade. ASSISTANT SECRETARY
Grut N Photographer, Pollet.
Guilbert T O Architect, Ls Varendes.
Harris A H LMS Railway Agent, Esplanade.
Howitt C W Hon. Sec. Chamber of Commerce.
Hamson J A Artist, St James Street.
Head G Haulier, Vrangue.
Henderson Capt W L Box Manufacturer, Esplanade.
Hickey Revd T G Clerk in Holy Orders, St Joseph's.
Kerr J Theatre Manager, St Julian's.
Lovell W D M House Furnisher, Smith Street.
Le Page E D Manager, Anglo-American Oil Co, Rocquettes.
Le Patourel H A H.M. Comptroller, Court Row.
Leroy H L Printer, Smith Street.
Luff F A President, Chamber of Commerce.
Mann E J W Vegetable Grower, St Andrew's.
Marquand A J Motor Omnibus Manager, Fountain Street.
Marshall A Tomato Grower, Collings Road.
Martineau G Grape Grower, Broomfield Vineries, Collings Road.
Ozanne I Shipping, Court Row.
Pierce J Postmaster, Smith Street.
Penney Revd W C Principal, Elizabeth College.
Peek F F Newspaper Manager, Smith Street.
Peek G F Director of Public Companies, Delancey. FIRST PRESIDENT Randell W B Ecrivain, Bank Chambers, High Street.
Roussel A J Deputy Greffier, Royal Court.
Sherwill A J Advocate, Manor Place.
Smith W H Life Insurance Agent, Doyle Road. SECRETARY
Stonelake C Chemist, Smith Street.
Stranger J J Mineral Water Manufacturer, Truchot.
Straw A R Coal Dealer, Phoenix Mills.
Thomas F W Chartered Accountant, New Street.
Thorne F C Windmill Engineer, South Esplanade.
Travers J L Restaurant Proprietor, Smith Street.
Van Der Sluys C F A Dutch Vice Consul, St Margaret's Lodge.
Watkin W W Chief Constable, Lefebvre Street.
Whales F Provision Merchant (Wholesale) Murdoch's Stores.
Wheadon H G Cigarette Manufacturer, Bucktrout & Co, High Street.
Young P B Miller, St John's..

Honorary Members :-
Sir John E Capper KCB, KCVO, Lieut. Governor.
Sir H W De Sausmarez, Bailiff of Guernsey.

A Founder Members' Booklet explained to the new Rotarians some of the advantages of membership. The Benefits were:

Making the acquaintance of men you ought to know. Genuine, wholesome good-fellowship. Developing true and helpful friends. Enlightenment as to other men's work, problems and successes. Education in methods that increase efficiency. Stimulation of your desire to be of service to your fellow men and society in general.

There were also Obligations:
To attend meetings regularly. To pay dues promptly. To do one's part when called upon. To be a big-hearted, broad-minded man - a man of energy and action - a real man - a Rotarian.

It was also pointed out that there were advantages of a Limited Membership.

1. Representative and Efficient Membership. Such a plan is representative of the community and at the same time it is impossible for membership to become so large and unwieldy as to make difficult the promotion of acquaintance and intimate friendship among members.

2.Concerted Action Easy. United action by the club is much easier than with a large, cumbersome membership.

3. Ideal Forum for Discussion. A club composed of one member representing each business or profession becomes an ideal forum for the consideration and discussion of public questions and all matters pertaining to the public and to the various trades and professions.

4.Clique Rule made Difficult. No one profession or allied professions can become numerically strong enough in the club to dominate it.

5. Provides avenue for the removal of 'deadheads'. This plan provides a basis upon which to establish and maintain the membership so that the club can insist on regular attendance and active participation or the surrender of membership to someone else in the same line of business.

6.Individual member Benefit. The Business and Professional man is given a more sympathetic understanding of other businesses and professions, thus lifting him out of the narrow rut of his own business routine and giving him suggestions and information obtainable in no other way.


One of the first major events of the Guernsey Club was the visit of Paul Harris in 1937.

This took place in July 1937. He said that as his wife came from Edinburgh they had some direct connection with the British Isles and they had been thinking for a long time of visiting the island since this was the home of the world-famed Guernsey cow and for a time was the home of Victor Hugo. He said that Rotary was gradually spreading throughout the world and there was originally an impression in America that Rotary couldn't be established in England because Englishmen didn't have that 'get together' idea that characterised the average American' but experience had proved that wrong.

He extended his good wishes to the Guernsey Club and said that as a very active club they should realise their responsibility to other Clubs. He called attention to Jersey with its fortnightly meetings and expressed the view that we could help to remedy matters by getting them into line with other Clubs (!)


Visit by Clem Renouf, President of Rotary International. This took place in 1979 on the initiative of Club President Bob Chilcott (Junior) and he joined us for lunch at the Royal Hotel. Since he had a Guernsey surname it gave him great pleasure to be able to trace his ancestry.


Boys' Camps were held at Rocquaine between the Wars and in 1952 contact was made with the Rotary Clubs of Stepney and Poplar and camps using marquees were re-started on a site between Grandes Rocques and Cobo. They were plentifully supplied with tomatoes, potatoes, meat and straw for the palliasses the boys slept on. The Revd. Jimmy Butterworth was a Rotarian who knew Bob Chilcott senior through the Brock Road Methodist Church and he ran youth clubs in Poplar and Stepney and arranged with the club to bring his lads to Guernsey. Two young schoolmasters, Harry Bisson and Bob Gill, both of whom became headmasters and in Harry Bisson's case a Jurat, helped to run the camps. Rotarian Bertram Bartlett married into the Luff family and ran the Luff grocery stores that were the forerunner of the Island Wide Stores. He was one of several Rotarians who were appointed Jurats.

Christmas parcels were started soon after the Liberation and goods were supplied by Luff & Co. This is funded from an annual Flag Day held on the Saturday that Father Christmas comes to town and last year almost 7,500 was collected. Fuel vouchers are now included which can be traded in for coal, gas, electricity, etc.

Gerve Peek, who was twice President of our Club, met Guide Dogs for the Blind Organiser Bill Binning during a train journey in England and this led him to set up a branch in Guernsey. A number of dogs were supplied to local people.

The Samaritans was set up by the Club with the co-operation of the Telephone Department, since counsellors initially worked from their own homes using a telephone transfer system.

Sarnia Housing, was set up by Bob Chilcott senior, who was a Founder Member and Club President 1954/55 and his involvement was recognised by the naming of Chilcott House in Havilland Street shortly after his death. The Association provides a valuable community service to this day.

Refurbishing of the Men's Lounge at St John's Residential Home was a regular commitment started by Bob Chilcott Senior, during his year as President in 1954/55. The commemorative plaque on the door was polished until it was unreadable and removed to the Warden's office. She has now been told to what it refers. Bob senior was a founder member of the Club and, according to Gerve Peek, was a quiet unassuming man who had always taken an interest in the elderly. He had been in Rotary for 31 years before being persuaded to become President and after his death the Club placed a seat outside the Home in his memory.
St John Residential Home Fetes.

For many years, Club members assisted in the Home's fund-raising by manning the various gates for the annual fete at Saumarez Park.

Twinning with St Malo Club was set up to assist in the language communication problem. Guernsey formed groups of Club members and each group circulated round members' house once a week and were allowed to speak only in French from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. Each group had a French-speaking Club member attached. It is questionable whether or not it did much to help us when confronted by our French visitors colleagues but we had many enjoyable and often hilarious evenings as a result.

A Sun Lounge at Castel Hospital was provided in the Rotary year 1965/66.

A Probus Club for retired businessmen was started in the Rotary Year 1977/78.

A Bird Sanctuary marking the Queen's Silver Jubilee was opened by the Lieut. Governor in July 1977 near Torteval Church and a plaque was placed on the wall next to a new gate that we provided.

Regular Children's Christmas Parties were held. The Ebenezer Church children brought toys to a special service attended by Rotarians and these were then wrapped and given out by Father Christmas at parties in the Ebenezer Church hall.

Tree of Joy was started in 1994 on the initiative of Rotarian 'Jerry' Girard, who had encountered it in Australia during his travels as an airline pilot. It has taken the place of the Children's Christmas Parties and a large Christmas tree is erected at the roundabout at the bottom of St Julian's Avenue and a smaller one in the Town Church Square. Other Christmas Tree images are placed at strategic points bearing labels detailing gifts that would be welcomed by coded children recipients whose names are obtained via the various welfare agencies. Members of the public take the labels, buy and wrap the gifts and return them for distribution.

An Inner Wheel Club was started 30th January 1947 and Chartered on 24th September 1947. In the early days one of the ways the ladies helped Rotary was to provide confectionery for the Boys Clubs. In addition to community service in their own right they have developed a valuable working relationship assistance with our Club, now notably with the Tree of Joy.

'Past Rotarians' was formed to enable ex-Rotarians to continue their links with Rotary. It was initiated by Rotary Club Presidents Barry Lovell and John Williams and Rotarian Keith Misselbrook, all of whom were made honorary members. Its first President in 1969/70 was PDG Arthur White, meetings were held at the Royal Hotel and the first Past-President of Guernsey Rotary to become President of Past Rotarians was Bill Green in 1971/72. It still flourishes with monthly meetings at the Idle Rocks Hotel and supports the Rotary Club in many ways.

The League of Friends of the Princess Elizabeth Hospital was formed in 1970 and Rotarian Bill Clark was its first Chairman, assisted by Rotarian Stan Power..

Alderney Rotary Club set up by us in 1980.

Guernesiais Rotary Club was set up by the Guernsey Club in 1994.

Rotaract was set up in 1979 by PP Alec Forty and these young people gave a lot of very useful service to our community. After a few years the Rotary Club decided to 'put it on the back-burner' where it still remains, but some of its ex-members decided to meet as a Rotaserv Club to continue their community service work.
Youth Speaks, a public speaking competition for school students was re-created by John Nettleton and Alec Forty in 1992 using the St James Concert & Assembly Hall. It goes from strength to strength and success has been obtained in the Rotary District Finals.

A Vocational Service Award was created and presented in June 1992 to Pamela Bartlett for her initiative in initiating yearly 'Jumbulance' visits to Lourdes for handicapped people.

District Conferences were held in Guernsey and organised by this Club in 1972, 1978, 1982, 1987 and 1996.
Many Club members have given service to our community in the roles of Constables, Douzeniers, Conseillers, Deputies and Jurats, as well as involvement in many charitable organisations.

The above account has been slightly edited by Basil Lewis from an original by Guernsey member.
Alec Forty to whom we are very grateful.

Posted 6 November by Historian Basil Lewis


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