Rotary Club of Stanford-le-Hope & Corringham
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The ceremony was witnessed by 185 Rotarians from twenty-two Clubs. This was the culmination of months of instruction, advice and fellowship - Rotary Club No. 1017 in District 108 of Rotary International was now in existence.
At that time District 108 encompassed the counties of Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and parts of Cambridgeshire. District meetings and Assemblies were held as far afield as Kings Lynn, Wymondham, March & Lowestoft. Many an enjoyable day was spent by Club Members travelling these parts to participate in the Fellowship which the meetings generated. Once a year an evening rally was held at Bury St. Edmunds, when the R.I.B.I. President would attend to meet with the delegates.
The size of District 108 imposed a considerable burden of travelling on the District Chairman in his visits to individual Clubs. In their wisdom the Council of R.I.B.I. decided that, with the approval of the Clubs in the District, the area should be reduced to a more manageable size. Thus it was that by 1975 Stanford-le-Hope & Corringham Club was part of the newly formed District 124 covering the county of Essex, as it does to this day.
In 1971 after five years of Rotary membership a suggestion was made within the Club that Fellowship be extended further afield by becoming associated with an overseas Rotary Club. Initial investigations led to favourable correspondence with a Club in France. In the autumn of 1971 a delegation of six Members, led by Vernon Davies visited Crepy-en-Valois in District 176. There it was agreed that on a reciprocal visit by Crepy Members in the spring of 1972 links could be forged between the two Clubs.
So it was that a joint meeting was held at the Billet Public House, Stanford-le-Hope, (our meeting venue at the time) and it was resolved that we be twinned in Rotary Fellowship, and further that the resolution be cemented and preserved by visits to each other on alternate years.
Our membership continued to grow over the early years, until in 1980 we could boast a total membership of 39 business and professional men who were united to serve the ideals of Rotary, not only locally but also internationally.
During the early years, it was becoming evident that although charitable table undertakings required financing, if the Rotary motto of ‘Service above Self’ was to have any meaning, it was necessary for Club Members to become involved individually and collectively with acts of service for the benefit of the community.
Service was achieved by making regular visits to the elderly and infirm in their own homes. Additionally seats were provided for the convenience of elderly residents in the Southend Road flats, coal vouchers distributed at Christmas to deserving residents, and drivers regularly supplied for the Toc-H coach to transport the Physically infirm.
Each summer for many years a chalet at St. Lawrence Bay was rented for one month from Wickford Rotary Club. Provisions were supplied and a deserving family could then enjoy a holiday that would otherwise be denied them. Transport was provided by the Club and visits were made periodically to check all was well with the holidaymakers.
A local contribution to the community was made when the Territorial Drill Hall in Corringham Road, Stanford-be-Hope was offered for sale. The Club sponsored and chaired a local meeting for the purpose of persuading the Thurrock Council to acquire the premises for use as a community recreation centre which they eventually did and the East Thurrock Community Centre came into being.
Sore feet and aching legs are called to mind through involvement in sponsored walks; 10 mile evening jaunts around local roads did not perhaps raise vast sums of money, but it was by Club efforts and those of local sponsors.
By today’s standards such ventures may seem trivial but the Club progressed to The Horndon Feast & Fair barbeques, Boxing Nights and Golf Tournaments. The funds raised contributed many thousands of pounds to charitable organisations and supplied medical equipment to local hospitals.
The Club has been associated with some major Rotary projects, the most significant to date being the elimination of polio via ‘POLIO-PLUS’.
Rotary is continually changing, the latest involving the admission of women into the movement, though not all Clubs subscribe to this change. What effect this will have on the development of acquaintance and understanding remains to be seen. What is certain is that if the Fellowship generated over the past years continues at its present rate ‘then we can look forward to the next 25 years with the confidence that Rotary Club 1017 will play an ever increasing role in ‘Rotary -the World Over’