About us


           Welcome to the Rotary Club of Leigh


Our club has a membership of pro-active individuals who work together for the good of others through various initiatives and fund-raising projects. This takes the Rotary motto of "Service Above Self" to a level that really makes a difference. We support a wide range of projects within our local community and also International projects and Disaster Relief.

We have a meeting every other Monday to enjoy each other's company, listen to inspiring speakers and keep up to date with our community projects. We also hold various Social, Fund-raising and Community Service events. If you would like to make new friends and have a good time whilst helping others, you would be very welcome. We are looking for new members - ladies or men, so why not come to one of our meetings to find out more? Please use the “Contact” facility at the top of this page. 

Meetings at Holiday Inn, Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, Greater Manchester WN7 4JY 

Fortnightly on Mondays from 6.00pm to around 7.45pm




The 1st of July is when a new Rotary year begins and we look back to a very successful year (as detailed in the article below) and forward to some exciting projects and events with our new President.

We are very pleased to welcome our new member, Dr. Shubha Dongre, making this our first married pair, as husband Anil is also a member. Recently we moved our meetings to a new venue – the Holiday Inn at the Leigh Sports Village, where we have been made very welcome.

So, a New Year, a New Member, a New Venue and a New President – Peter Thompson takes over for 2024-25, ably supported by our Vice President, Peter Rowlinson and together they will take our club forward in supporting our local community.

If you are interested in joining Rotary, why not contact us now and come along to a few meetings to learn more, without any obligation?


As our Rotary Year finishes at the end of June, we look back on how we served the community over the past year.

The year started with a collection at Tesco, of unwanted Hospital Equipment for refurbishing by Wigan Council. This saved the NHS about £1400 and we have been asked to repeat the event in 2024. In our Dragons’ Den event, we gave away over £10,000, spread amongst 8 local charitable groups, following their presentations on how the funds would be used. A Boxing Tournament was held which raised £2664 for Leigh Amateur Boxing Club for the refurbishment of club facilities. 

Local Ukrainians have been taken to a Pantomime and to the Blackpool Lights and donations were given to Wigan and Leigh Hospice, Derian House Childrens Hospice and the Mayor of Wigan’s Charity Appeal. Other groups that have benefitted include Linus, for making blankets etc for hospitals, ManLeigh Support Group, Abbeyfield Care Home, Leigh Means Business and Circus Starr for children with special needs. A major project involved helping the Girl Guides to restore their vandalised hut. 

Many other groups were also helped and more than £20,000 of funding was given during the year. 


In May we were privileged to have Leigh MP, James Grundy as the guest speaker at our club meeting. James spoke about his experiences as an MP and the many local projects that he has been involved with, particularly mentioning his stance against HS2, his efforts related to the Atherleigh Way extension to J22 of the M6 and his attempts to get better parking facilities in Leigh town centre. There was no mention of party politics as Rotary is strictly a non-political organisation. 


The Friends of Lilford Park CiC (FoLP) are a small group of volunteers, working together with other local groups to improve the facilities available within Lilford park. FoLP Chairman David Sykes said “ We are delighted that the park is being used more and more by a variety of people, including sport enthusiasts, joggers, cyclists and walkers, also the 5-a-side pitches and basketball court which are well used and popular facilities.  However, any type of physical activity carries with it the unfortunate possibility of someone having a heart related problem. With this in mind, FOLP decided a Defibrillator would be an added bonus for all park users to have easy access to.

We approached Leigh Rotary for support via their ‘Dragon’s Den 2023’ initiative, and as a result were lucky enough to be awarded funding which allowed us to purchase and install both a Defibrillator and Bleed Kit.  These are held inside a clearly marked cabinet which is situated on the toilet block wall.  The unit is accessed by dialling 999 after which the operator will give the caller a combination code to open the cabinet and access the (easy to follow) instructions how to safely use the Defibrillator.”

Rotary President, Frank Bowker, added “Friends of Lilford Park do an excellent job in promoting this wonderful local public amenity and  Leigh Rotary members were pleased to be able to support the volunteers with funding for the Defibrillator and Bleed Kit installation”.

The Photo shows David Sykes with Rotary President Frank Bowker and volunteers from "FoLP"





The names of Joe and Margaret Galvin are synonymous with Leigh Harriers. Over many years they have been key to the club’s success, both on and off the track, with their involvement in the move to Leigh Sports Village and the training of countless youngsters, including the development of Keely Hodgkinson into the outstanding international athlete she is today.

In recognition of their achievements and service to the community, Leigh Rotary Club made a Paul Harris Fellowship award to Joe Galvin, just before he sadly passed away, a few months ago. This award is named after the founder of Rotary International and is the highest Rotary honour that can be bestowed on anyone – in this case in recognition of the dedication to the Leigh Harriers Club and community over many years.

At the same time, another PHF award was obtained for Joe’s wife Margaret Galvin, but due to Joe’s poor health, it was decided to delay this for some months so that a proper presentation could be made. Last week this award was made at a Harriers athletics event, in front of a large crowd of supporters.

Leigh Rotary Community Service Chairman, John Bullough, explained to the club members how much of their lives the Galvin man and wife team had dedicated to the Harriers Club and to the success of countless athletes, who had achieved honours at the highest level. President Frank Bowker then presented a thrilled Margaret with a gold badge and a certificate, which now proudly hangs on their wall.



Opening the curtains might sound like an easy job, but it’s a dangerous job at St Joseph’s Hall as it involves climbing up high to operate the ancient equipment.

When Leigh Rotary were asked for a donation to renew the equipment, a visit to the hall revealed the hard work that the St Joseph’s Players have been doing to maintain the premises. It was considered that this hall is an important community facility, especially since the demise of other community halls in the vicinity, leaving Leigh somewhat depleted for such venues. A donation of £1500 was handed over and will be put to good use in continuing the future of entertainment in Leigh.


Leigh Rotary Vice President Frank Bowker and his wife Dorothy were privileged to attend a garden Party at Buckingham Palace, a week before the coronation of King Charles III.

This is their second time at the Royal Palace as Dorothy, who is secretary of Leigh Inner Wheel, received a British Empire Medal in 2022 for her work at The Bridge Community Food Market and also attended the Palace to receive the Queens Award on behalf of The Bridge.

The photo shows Frank and Dorothy on the steps overlooking the Royal Gardens.



2023 has been an outstanding year for Leigh Rotary as 2 Members were given “PHF awards,” named after our founder Paul Harris and given to members who have given exceptional service to Rotary or the community. However, in this case, these were Sapphire PHF’s, equivalent to a double Paul Harris Fellow Award.

Frank Bowker and Barrie Coates had both been instrumental in setting up “The Bridge”, which has turned into one of the largest Community Hubs and Food Markets in the North West. Due to Frank and his family’s hard work, The Bridge has gained a Queens Award.

Barrie was an “ambassador” for Shelterbox and Aquabox charities and made several trips to a village in Ghana to set up a supply of fresh water, food production, health care facilities and a school. This has taken the village from poverty to prosperity and resulted in the high death rate for children falling to minimal.

The photos show President Andre presenting the PHF’s to Barrie Coates (Left) and Frank Bowker (Right)



The Rotary Clubs of Leigh and Astley combined their efforts to support a local Boxing Club with a donation of £600

Leigh Amateur Boxing Club is based in Scott Street, Leigh and is run by Head Coach, Adrian Fleming. Youngsters, both boys and girls from the age 5 attend, but anyone of any age, any ability or any fitness level can go along, whether they want to attain a good standard of boxing, or simply want to keep fit and make new friends.

The club is raising funds for repairs at their HQ and to also purchase more modern equipment. Rotary members were very happy to support this excellent facility for local youngsters.

The photo shows members of the boxing club receiving a £600 cheque from the Rotary Clubs of Leigh and Astley.






Come and enjoy a night of indoor racing whilst supporting two local charities.


Tickets available from John, telephone 07932 661595 - only £8 including supper.



Our meeting at the end of February was a quite momentous occasion.

Firstly, our President, Andre Winstanley had the pleasure of giving a Paul Harris Fellowship award to Peter Bentham. A “PHF” is the highest award in Rotary, named after our founder Paul Harris and given to members or non-Rotarians who have given exceptional service to Rotary or the community. Peter has a long record of service as Rotary Club treasurer and has held various official positions at Leigh Cricket Club, as well as playing tennis for them for over 60 years!

Secondly, we were pleased to welcome 2 new members – Lee Fogg and Peter Rowlinson. Both have previously been members of Rotary and having also served as club presidents, they bring a lot of experience and knowledge about the community, which will be invaluable.

The photo shows President Andre with Peter Bentham.


The photo below shows new members Peter Rowlinson & Lee Fogg, with Vice President Frank Bowker and President Andre Winstanley



When major disasters strike, have you ever wondered where all the tents come from, to house the survivors? Rotary is a major contributor via Shelterbox ~ a charity that Rotary created!

Following the recent earthquakes in Turkey & Syria, Leigh Rotary have purchased two Shelterboxes at £590 each. 

Each Shelterbox contains a large family tent, tarpaulin, digging tools, mosquito nets, a water purification system, tools, cooking equipment, solar lights, thermal blankets, fleeces, and even children’s toys!

Shelterbox store boxes in warehouses all over the world ~ ready for immediate dispatch to disaster areas. Since the year 2000, Shelterbox has saved thousands of lives in 314 disasters, in 97 different countries.

Should you wish to donate, go to www.shelterbox.org.




Should you wish to donate, go to www.shelterbox.org.


If you were around in the 1950’s and 60’s, you will probably remember the horrific Polio disease, which crippled half a million people every year. You may also remember the ”Iron Lung” – a metal chamber that some Polio sufferers had to lie in to enable them to breatheCan you remember being scared of getting Polio when you were a child? Can you remember seeing photos of lines of Iron Lungs with Polio sufferers lying in them to stay alive?

Now you can see a real Iron Lung when Rotary bring it to Leigh Tesco Superstore from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th February 2023.

We don’t have Polio in the UK any more, but it only takes one infected person to jump on a plane to bring it back. That is why Rotary International started their “End Polio Now” campaign in 1985 to rid the world of this dreadful disease. At that time 125 countries had Polio, but thanks to the Rotary initiative, this was down to just 2 countries by 2018 and in 2023 there were just 2 cases in Afghanistan and 20 in Pakistan.More than 2,500,000 children have been inoculated but it has cost the lives of several Rotarians and helpers who have been murdered in dangerous countries during their quest to help this cause.






Golborne High School has presented a cheque to members of the Rotary Club of Leigh, which is one of the clubs in the "Wigan Cluster" (Newton, Newton Jubilee, Wigan, Astley, Golborne, Tyldesley) that supports the Jansa Village in Ghana. Golborne High has successfully managed to raise an amazing total of £1.446 from pupils and staff through various charitable events, and they intend to continue to offer their support to the Rotary club, who are helping to bring improvements to Jansa village that will prevent the deaths of children that are dying of malnutrition and waterborne diseases. Funding has already been secured for Jansa's borehole, and the Wigan Cluster of Rotary Clubs has also sponsored the construction of household latrines, training in health and hygiene, and the strengthening of community institutions to enable them to maintain the improvements.

Rotarians would like to thank all the Golborne High pupils, teachers and parents for their amazing efforts, which will help villagers in Jansa to build toilets and other facilities, enabling them to grow their own food and have clean water and better health facilities. They should all be extremely proud of how their generosity will help to save many lives.





Rotary’s National “Youth Speaks” competition, is an event designed to give youngsters an opportunity of learning and practising high standards of expression, presentation and communication skills. 

Local heats took place at Bedford High School on 2nd February, organised by Leigh Rotary, where 5 teams gave brief presentations on a subject of their own choice. Subjects ranged from “Does homework have a negative effect on students” to “How racism has become normalised in society”

In summing up, the panel of 3 independent judges said that the exceptional standards of each team made it hard to choose who should progress to the next heat and congratulated all the team members on the difficult task of speaking, mostly without notes, to an adult audience on challenging subjects.


After assessing the speakers, the judges decided that Bedford High Intermediate team 1, for 11 to 13 year-olds and St Mary’s High in the 14 to 17 year Senior category, will go through to the next heat. The teams that just missed out were Bedford High 2 and St Mary’s in the junior section and Rainhill’s Tower College.
The photos below are the teams with Rotary District Governor Eric Russell:







 Father Christmas has sent a letter to say a massive “Thank You” to everyone from Leigh and Lowton who kindly donated nearly £14000 to Leigh Rotary Club’s charity fund raising.

Santa said “We can hardly believe the incredible generosity of the local community who contributed so much, despite the poor economic climate. Many children saved their change through the year and we were given several boxes full of coins, whilst others stopped their cars to hand over notes. My little helpers battled through rain and cold and so did the thousands of children and adults who came out to meet me and have their photographs taken.”

Leigh Rotary’s President Andre Winstanley said, ”We were so pleased with our main aim, to give such pleasure to children and parents at Christmas.

“And what amazingly generous people we have in our town!! Our collection was boosted by an incredible £5000 donation via Leigh Leopards’ Rugby team! Players also helped with our collection on one evening, giving an extra thrill to many of their fans who were surprised to see players knocking on their doors!

“The funds we collected will be well spent during the next year on local organisations and worthy causes. Leigh Rotary members would like to thank Bents, Asda, Tesco and Morrisons for allowing collections and also thanks to Waterfields Bakery for storing our Sleigh – but most of all, thanks to the wonderful people of Leigh & Lowton.”


Despite our busy time of year with Santa, each member of Leigh Rotary found time to buy chocolate selection boxes for the Foodbank to give to children.

Over 200 boxes were handed over by Rotary member Gareth Cheesman to the Foodbank manager, Warren Done, who said that they are 40% busier than this time last year, but the public of Leigh are very generous with their donations.


The photo shows Gareth handing over the selection boxes to Warren.



30th Nov Wed     Wigan Rd Upper & Nel Pan Lane areas

1st  Dec  Thurs   Pennington North – Bonnywell Rd/ Diamond St

2nd Dec  Fri        Sydney Ave & Hayman Avenue Estate         

5th Dec   Mon      The Avenue/ Holden Rd

6th Dec   Tues      Firs Lane West/ Plank Lane

7th Dec   Wed       Lowton Newton Rd areas

8th Dec   Thurs     Warrington Rd areas

9th Dec   Fri          Westleigh – Abbey La. & Westbourne Ave

12th Dec Mon       Firs Lane East & Wigan Rd South areas

13th Dec Tues      Chapel St & Manchester Rd areas

14th Dec Wed  CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER -   Lowton – St Helens Rd areas

Re-scheduled for 21st Dec

15th Dec Thurs     None

16th Dec Fri          Higher Folds to Kenwood Ave

19th Dec Mon       Town Centre- Orchard La to Railway Rd

20th Dec Tues      Pennington South

21st Dec Wed     Lowton - St Helens areas (re-scheduled from 14th)

Santa’s Sleigh will also be at Supermarkets etc from 10am to 4pm: 

                         ASDA   on 3rd & 22nd Dec; 

                         BENTS  on 4th & 11th Dec;(Sleigh–no Santa)

                         TESCO on 10th & 23rd Dec; 

                         MORRISONS  on 30th Nov & 18th Dec; 

                         BRADSHAWGATE on 17th Dec.




It is a rare occasion for any Rotary Club to have a member reaching the age of 100, but Frank Rothwell is still an active member, who is a shining example of a man who has spent his life acting on the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.” He was awarded the Burma Star for his service in the war, joined Rotary, became a JP and was awarded the MBE!

He was also the designer and builder of our Santa Sleigh! In his Rotary life, he helped to establish Abbeyfield care home, where he is still involved and at his birthday party was awarded the highest honour in Rotary, a PHF with 3 rubies. He may be 100 but he is still as bright as a button and gave a 20-minute speech at his party, without any notes!

His daughter, brother and nephew are all in Rotary with over 130 years dedicated service between them! 

The photo shows Frank celebrating with Rotary members.



Since the conflict in Ukraine started, Rotary Clubs around the world have been helping the people in the Ukraine via Rotary Clubs in that country and in Poland, Romania and Moldova.

Leigh Rotary sent £1000 towards buying electrical generators (see photo), which were sourced by Romanian and Ukrainian Rotary Clubs and shipped direct to hospitals in the Ukraine. We also had an anonymous donation of £3000 which was sent towards building modular homes in Moshchun, one of the first villages to be destroyed.

Our 60’s Night with the Nostalgia Live Band, raised £500 and this is being used to give £50 food vouchers to 10 Ukrainian families who are living locally.


Leigh Rotary Club held a Dragon’s Den event where 10 local charities each received a share of £10,000 after giving short presentations about their organisation to 3 Dragons. The funds came from last year’s Santa Sleigh collection, as it was decided to give this back to charities based in the Leigh and Lowton areas, to benefit the community where the money was collected from. 

Speaking to an audience of 100 is a daunting task for most people, but also facing 3 Dragons could be even more fearsome! However, there was nothing really to fear from these Dragons, who were very kind, asking interesting questions and giving the benefit of their own experiences.

The 3 Dragons were local personalities, The Lady Smith, Derek Beaumont and Richard Renda. Lady Smith has been Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire and High Sheriff of Greater Manchester; Derek Beaumont is a businessman, entrepreneur and owner of Leigh Centurions; Richard Renda is the founder of a publicity and creative agency and supporter of local business incentives. All the Dragons are involved with various charities. 

Local clubs and charitable organisations, were invited to apply for the event on Sunday 18th September and from 18 applicants, the top 10 chosen to attend were: East Leigh Juniors FC, ManLeigh, WN7 Outreach, Leigh Means Business, AIM Northwest, Beauty For Ashes Refuges, Leigh Miners Rangers Rugby League Academy, The Baby Room, Friends of Lilford Park, and Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre.

Every speaker should be congratulated on their presentation and the replies they gave to some brilliant questions from the Dragons, who were able to give lots of useful tips other contacts and actual offers of help.

Everyone had a time to network whilst the Dragons decided what share of the £10,000 should be allocated to each charity, then cheques were made out and presented by the Dragons to each organisation, enabling them to have immediate use of the funds.

Rotary President Andre Winstanley and MC John Stringer thanked everyone for attending this successful event, with special thanks to the Dragons, to the Masonic Hall for use of their facilities and to Walter Brown for the audio system.


Another sunny day greeted Rotary members and friends as they met at Leigh Bridge for a walk along the canal to Butts Bridge. The group was accompanied by a local historian who gave a running commentary on the many interesting facts relating to the canal, bridges and personalities involved in the development of this section of the Leigh Branch.

Arriving at the Leigh Spinners Mill, we were greeted with an introduction to the development of a micro-brewery using George Shaw’s traditional recipes. We were treated to a welcome taste of some beers and ales, before having an amazing Afternoon Tea in the Millage Canteen, which we would highly recommend to anyone!

A tour of the Mill followed and it was amazing to see how many organisations are making use of this tremendous facility, which is a real success story for Leigh and the local area.


Members and friends enjoyed an excellent lunch at Gibbon Bridge, when a group of 16 made the journey to the Trough of Bowland. Following lunch, the afternoon was spent in glorious sunshine, sat in the amazing gardens enjoying each other’s company.



It was our Club's 90th Birthday on 27th June, which we celebrated with a party at the Robin Hood pub, attended by 60 members and friends, including Presidents form local clubs Following a social time in the evening sun and several amusing speeches, we cut our 90th Anniversary cake to finish off a most enjoyable social occasion. 

Our new Rotary year started from July and we have already been able to help various local organisations with donations. These included Circus Starr, when we funded 20 underprivileged children to the Big Top Circus; £500 was donated to the Wigan & Leigh Youth Brass Band and £250 each to Lowton Social Club and Christ Church Pennington towards the purchase of defibrillators.  

Our largest project this year, the resurrection of ‘Young Carers’, providing respite and a regular meeting event for young people, has got under way. At their first meeting Leigh Rotary was thanked for the donation of £6000, being given over 18 months to help this worthy cause. 

Finally, our Dragons’ Den event at which we will be giving local organisations a total of £10,000, is under way - see details below.





The new Rotary year, starting in July, usually sees a new President and Vice President taking over, but with the interruptions caused by Covid, our President Andre Winstanley agreed to continue his successful year for another 12 months. Frank Bowker also agreed to be Vice President for the third time – that’s dedication!

The photo shows Andre handing over the VP’s jewel to Frank.








Leigh Rotary Club has £10,000 to split between 10 local clubs and charitable organisations, who can obtain immediate funds for community and charity initiatives by pitching to a panel of Dragons.


If you are a local club, charity or organisation based in Leigh or Lowton struggling to obtain funds then our very first Dragon’s Den could give you the chance of quickly getting some funding. You will be invited to pitch to three Dragons, who will decide on the amount to award each applicant and cheques will be awarded on the night, giving you immediate funds. The event will also be an ideal opportunity to make contacts and network with similar organisations.


A panel will review all the applications and invite the final top ten to the event. Support and guidance will be provided to all successful entrants.. Your charity or organisation must be based in Leigh or Lowton and must have a Constitution, or have Registered Charity status. 


The deadline for submissions is 5th August.

The event is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, 18th September at the Leigh Masonic Hall.


If you are interested in taking part, use the Contact Form at the top of this website, 

or send an email requesting an application form and further details, to



Help us to support Ukraine ~ all profits will help to buy electricity generators for Ukrainian Hospitals, being supplied through Rotary Clubs in the Ukraine and Romania. 


Pay at the door or get tickets from any Rotary Member or use the “Contact” page on this website.







We were very pleased to have 6 new members join in the last few months, starting with Angela Roberts in November, who became Leigh Rotary’s first lady member.

This was followed in December with 3 more new members! Firstly, Vince Hankinson, who initially attended a meeting to give a talk about his adventures, taking clothes and goods to the needy in Africa, following which he decided to join! Then we were pleased that our Past President, Frank Bowker introduced his son Anthony and friend Matthew Taylor, who also joined in December. 

See photo below: L-R President Andre Winstanley with Anthony Bowker, Vince Hankinson & Matthew Taylor







Santa’s Record  Christmas Collection ~ 2021

Father Christmas has sent a letter to say a massive “Thank You” to everyone from Leigh and Lowton who kindly donated to Leigh Rotary Club’s charity fund raising, which is raised a record amount of £16035.

Santa said “Following last year’s lockdowns, what an incredible difference our collection has been this Christmas! My little helpers battled through rain, cold and high winds, and so did the thousands of children and adults who came out to meet me and have their photos taken. Even 2-day old baby Ollie came out specially to see me!”

Leigh Rotary’s President Andre Winstanley said,” What amazing people we have in our town! Many children had been saving their change through the year and brought out bags full of coins, along with Christmas cards and present lists.

“The funds we collected will be well spent during the next year on local organisations and worthy causes. Leigh Rotary members would like to thank Bents, Asda, Tesco and Morrisons for allowing collections and also thanks to Waterfields for storing our Sleigh and SMD Tyres for donating new tyres – but most of all, thanks to the wonderful people of Leigh & Lowton.”

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Considerable excitement was caused at the Leigh Food Bank, when Rotarian Gareth Cheesman delivered 250 chocolate selection boxes in time to add a little extra joy at Christmas. Based at Kingsleigh Methodist Church, the Food Bank volunteers were delighted to receive the chocolate boxes, which individual Rotary members had bought as an extra Christmas surprise for local children. The photo shows Gareth with Project Manager Warren Done and some happy volunteers.




Forty Rotarians, partners and friends were treated to a fabulous day out at Astley’s Mining Museum. After coffee, biscuits and an interesting introduction to the museum, the heavy rain stopped as we walked over to the engine house to be amazed by the sheer size of what is the largest surviving colliery winding engine of its type in Europe. The sun came out as we climbed on board the pit railway train, which took us to the Bridgewater Canal and back to stop in the shadow of the 98 ft wrought iron lattice girders of the only surviving Pit Headgear on the Lancashire Coalfield. 

After a tour of the fascinating museum, outdoor equipment and miners’ cottage, it was back for an afternoon cream tea. A donation of £150 was later made to support this valuable community facility.


Bedford High Reach Rotary’s National Competition!

The National “Youth Speaks” competition organised by UK Rotary Clubs, is an event where Bedford High have usually excelled, but they have now reached the very top, winning the District and Regional Finals meaning that they qualified for the National Finals!

Bedford’s team were expected to take the honours at the National finals too, but these were cancelled due to the pandemic. The team of 3 girls from Year 8 and 9 faced older competitors in their category and spoke on a subject of their choice - “Actions Speak Louder Than Words!” Faith Barlow performed as Chairperson, providing an insightful and intriguing introduction to the subject, which Abigail Fletcher then delivered in the most professional and captivating manner, which many older, experienced speakers would have been proud to have made. A vote of thanks was then given by the mesmerising Meadow Armstrong, rounding off an amazing team effort.

Abigail’s heartfelt speech drew on her own personal experiences in difficult times and with a passion for “making a difference.” She highlighted how she had done a 10 mile walk to raise money for ‘The Bridge’ after a robbery there. By coincidence, The Bridge is an organisation that Leigh Rotary were very involved in setting up and running and is now a non-profit registered charity with a Community Cafe and Food Market.

Assistant Headteacher, Gabriel Calwell, said, “Youngsters have lost out on many aspects over the past few years, but this competition has remained a unique enriching opportunity for our talented young people. It will inevitably serve them very well in their personal development and it has given so many a newly found confidence. The Rotary organisation should be thanked for involving and inspiring children throughout Britain with this excellent competition.”


Volunteers at The Bridge in Leigh have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service! The Bridge has been a successful Community Café and Food Market since 2016 reducing food waste while addressing poverty and offering support, wellness and social inclusion. The Food Market offers affordable food to the community by obtaining perfectly edible food before it goes to waste.

The Bridge originally opened as The Caring Kitchen with the help of Leigh Rotary members and a donation of £15000 spread over 3 years for equipment. The organisation has grown from strength to strength and during the first twelve weeks of the pandemic delivered over 5000 hampers and distributed over 90 TONNES of food! They have expanded services to support accommodation for the homeless and offering mental health support.

Leigh Rotary members are proud to have helped The Bridge from its early beginnings and to have also supported, with donations, the Leigh Ornithological Society, who have also received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Congratulations to all those hard working humanitarians who richly deserve these awards!






The new Rotary year began on 1st July as John Bullough handed over the reins to Andre Winstanley who became our new President. After thanking John for seeing us through the most difficult part of Covid, Andre said “I’m so pleased that we are getting back to some form of normality. This year, one of my aims is to increase membership and we can assure a warm welcome to any ladies or men, who would like to come along to some meetings to find out what Rotary is all about. We have new meeting times and reduced membership costs, which are explained in more detail below.

“We will continue our support of other organisations in the community and already have lots of social activities planned. So, there are lots to look forward to in coming months and we hope that all our Rotary friends will share in our activities.”



Following the end of lockdown (don’t speak too soon!) we have made changes to our meeting frequency to make it less costly to be a member and to reduce time commitments. We now meet every 2 weeks at 6pm until around 7.45pm on Mondays at Leigh Cricket Club. The cost of being a member will now be around £12 per month for fees and general running costs, plus the cost of any meals. 

Interested in finding out more? Contact Alan on 07484 739575


Learning from home has become the norm for many children during lockdown, but not everyone has a computer, putting youngsters into a seriously disadvantaged position. The Rotary Club of Leigh decided to help local schools with this problem and their President, John Bullough told the Journal, “Local people kindly donated around £3500 over the Christmas period, when we took Santa’s Sleigh around the streets, so we decided to use that money to buy 17 new laptops. These have been given to 4 schools who wanted laptops to lend out to children who didn’t have any computer facility for home learning. The schools were Leigh St Johns, Leigh St Gabriel’s, Christ Church CE and Leigh CE Primary. We would like to thank Advanced Computers on Chapel Street, who set up the laptops for home learning and kindly gave a generous discount.”

Head teacher Clare Oxborough from Leigh CE Primary said, “We were absolutely delighted when Leigh Rotary contacted us, having heard of our need for laptops. Their gift will be incredibly helpful, enabling pupils to work remotely and submit their work back to the school. Rotary also provided USB sticks for all the pupils in the top class, which they will put to good use in their studies.”

On hearing about the donation, local MP James Grundy commented, “This is a wonderful gesture from the Leigh Rotary Club, which will be an invaluable help to youngsters at this difficult time.”



Thank you to everyone who gave donations during Santa's 2020 street tours and through the Just Giving and Text donation sites. For the past few years we have collected over £12000 which has been passed on to good causes. This year we could not have our usual house or supermarket collections but are grateful for those who contributed about £3700, which will go to local good causes.


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Lockdown didn’t stop the Rotary Club of Leigh from collecting for various good causes. Shoes seemed to be the theme for November with two quite separate charities.

Around 4 million children in the UK have to wear ill-fitting shoes that not only causes foot problems in later life but can negatively affect their academic and sporting performance, and self-esteem.

A full carload of shoes was collected by Rotarians for SHOE AID UK, who will check and sanitize them, sort into sizes and distribute to needy people in the UK and overseas. Most people have shoes they no longer need and are glad to give to a good cause rather than throw them away. It’s amazing how many shoes we collected were brand new, never been used! 

Our support for the ROTARY SHOEBOX APPEAL was cut short with lockdown, but still benefited from another car load of shoeboxes bound for Eastern Europe, via Rotary’s new warehouse in Oldham. Children and adults who are living in squalid conditions and who are desperately poor, will be delighted with the toys and household goods they will receive. For many, it will be their first presents ever and even the cardboard box is useful when you have next to nothing!




Leigh Rotary Giving Goes On!

Leigh Rotary President John Bullough promised that helping local community projects will continue despite the difficulties posed by the COVID virus.

John said, “During lockdown we may not have had many meetings but we have still been able to support Leigh’s Foodbank with a £3000 donation and The Bridge with £1000. 

Some 5,000 face masks and 520 visors have been delivered to care homes and hospices in North West thanks to the efforts of 20 local Rotary clubs. We also donated £1000 to the Wigan Scrub to make scrubs for front line workers.

Leigh care home, Abbeyfields, benefited from a donation for outdoor equipment and a donation was given to The Linus Project, who make and distribute quilts and blankets to local hospitals, children’s hospices, women’s refuges, foster carers, special schools, etc.

On-going projects include support of the Shoebox Appeal, where boxes are filled with presents and household goods for needy families in Eastern Europe and old shoes are being collected in support of Shoe Aid UK.”

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New President of Leigh Rotary says 
                              “Service Above Self” will continue.

John Bullough has become the new President of Leigh Rotary Club for 2020-21, taking over from Alan Smallshaw, with Andre Winstanley becoming Vice-President. 


Above: L to R - Past President Alan Smallshaw; New President John Bullough: New Vice President Andre Winstanley

After handing over the chain of office, retiring President Alan said, “We have had a most satisfying year during which we helped the funding of many organisations, clubs and charitable groups, and we must thank the people of Leigh and Lowton for their support and contributions – everyone has been so generous, especially at Christmas time with Santa’s Sleigh. Unfortunately, the Covid virus has halted our weekly meetings for now but I wish every success to the incoming President in these difficult times.”

After accepting his new responsibilities,  new President John commented,  “I would like to express my congratulations to our retiring President for such a successful year, despite the difficult past months. With uncertain times ahead, one thing we can be sure of is that our Rotary members will still stand firmly behind our motto of Service Above Self, to ensure that we still do our utmost to help the local needy and the deserving organisations and clubs who rely on charitable donations."

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Leigh Boxing Club received a welcome boost to their funding when they received a donation of £1000 from Leigh Rotary Club.

Leigh’s MP, James Grundy attended the Rotary meeting on 17th February and handed over a cheque to Head Coach Adrian Fleming, which will be spent on gloves, pads and other essential equipment that constantly needs replacing.

Rotary Vice President John Bullough said, “We were most impressed with a talk that Adrian gave last week. We were surprised and pleased to hear how many young boys and girls attend the gym and the benefits they get from learning the disciplines they need for the sport, which also help them in all walks of life. One of our aims in Rotary is to help charitable causes and we are always keen to hear from such organisations, especially when young people are involved.”

On receiving the donation Head Coach Adrian added, “We have boys and girls from 5 year old up to 40 and have 7 England International boxers training with us. Donations like this will help us to continue our successes.”

Leigh Boxing & Fitness Gym is based in Scott Street (off Wigan Road), Leigh, WN7 5AL

The photo shows James Grundy MP, Head Coach Adrian Fleming and Leigh Rotary VP John Bullough: -







Leigh Rotarians were particularly pleased to celebrate Frank Rothwell’s 55 years as a member of the Leigh Club at their Christmas Lunch. Club President, Alan Smallshaw presented Frank with a certificate from Donna Wallbank, President of RIBI and a letter of congratulations from the Rotary International President, Mark Maloney. 

Frank Rothwell has had a very distinguished life of “Service Above Self”, a motto which he often uses and which certainly applies to his life of helping others. Frank served for many years as a JP, has been awarded an MBE and a Paul Harris Sapphire. He is well known in District for his involvement with Rotary Foundation (Rotary’s International Charity) and is still as enthusiastic as ever in his support for Foundation.

Frank Rothwell has been involved in many organisations, always holding the most senior posts of Chairman or President and after 55 years in Leigh Rotary is still one of the most regular attenders! His enthusiasm for Rotary has spread through his family with daughter Gillian Bromley, brother Melvyn and Melvyn’s son David all active members, all Past Presidents and all having been awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship – what a tremendous Rotary Family, with a total of over 120 years membership!

The photo shows President Alan Smallshaw presenting the certificate to Frank Rothwell






Christmas came a bit early for some children who were treated to a Christmas Party by members of Leigh Rotary Club.

Around 40 children partied the afternoon away at Leigh Masonic Hall with fun and games, followed by an afternoon tea of Chicken Nuggets, Chips and Ice Cream. One little boy was asked if he wanted ice cream and said “I don’t know – I’ve never had it!” He was rather surprised to find out that it was cold, but he had a bigger surprise when Father Christmas walked through the door with a big bag of presents for the children to take home.

A number of helpers remarked that the children declared it to be their “best party ever,” but for one little girl it was even more special as she said, “It’s the only party I’ve ever been to.”  That made it all very worthwhile!











In conjunction with Newton & District Jubilee Rotary, Leigh Rotary Club organized a dinner to raise money and awareness for World Polio Day on 24th October 2019 at The RAJ restaurant in Culcheth.   Past District Governor Stan Bowes spoke to us about the Rotary campaign to rid the world of polio and we heard some new facts about the history of Polio and that the Taliban have recognized the importance of ending Polio by issuing instructions to co-operate with the Rotary campaign. The evening raised £1000 which will be increased to £3000through the Bill & Melisa Gates Foundation. We wish to express our thanks to the owners of The RAJ for their co-operation.





Our Race Night at Leigh East ARLFC was another successful event, not only raising £1100 but also providing a night of good fun and fellowship. The event was in aid of Derian House Children’s Hospice, who have since announced that they beat off competition from more than 50,000 other charities to be named Charity of the Year 2019 at the prestigious “JustGiving Awards”. Congratulations to all the hard working staff at Derian House who deserve this well-deserved accolade.



In September 2019, we held a display of Aquabox and Shelterbox in the Spinning Gate shopping centre. This gave us the opportunity to show how these Rotary organisations respond to worldwide disasters.

Aquabox started when a Rotarian invented a water filter, which has continually been developed into a portable system turning dirty water to pure drinking water without the need for chemicals. The smallest filters only cost £25 and are usually supplied along with the Aid Box containing Shelter Materials; Tools; Bedding; Cooking Utensils; Baby & Children’s Clothing etc. The Aquabox only costs £150.

Shelterbox is another Rotary organization whose teams work with disaster-hit families around the world, offering emergency shelter and other essential items to support them in rebuilding their lives. Each Shelterbox can support a family of 10 with a tent; blankets, cooking utensils; tools etc. 

The Rotary Club of Leigh has just funded an Aquabox and a Shelterbox. These are stored in locations around the world, ready for urgent use, so our contributions will fill gaps left by boxes that have just been used.





Leigh Rotary’s Past President, Barrie Coates has taken on an important role as the 18th Ambassador for Rotary Aquabox. 

Since its formation in 1992, Aquabox has sent more than 110,000 aid boxes to more than 50 countries around the world, helping hundreds of thousands of people in times of crisis. As well as a water-filtration unit, each Aquabox contains a variety of humanitarian aid items, including cooking utensils, hygiene equipment, tools, shelter materials, baby and children's clothing and educational items.

Aquabox rely entirely on donations and the fundraising activities of their supporters and Barrie will be representing Aquabox to Rotary Clubs and other supporters across the North-West, significantly strengthening the presence of this very important charity, in bringing clean water and aid to anywhere in the world when disasters strike.

As this newsletter was ready to send, Barrie came back from an International Meeting where he agreed to take on the complimentary role as District Rep for SHELTERBOX.






Dear Mr Cheesman,

Year 5 would like to thank yourself and the Rotary Club for generously arranging for our trip to Petty Pool today. The children had a wonderful time and had some brilliant opportunities to develop their team building skills, confidence and resilience! It was a shame you weren't able to accompany us, however, we're going to be doing some blogging about the day so I will send you a link. There's also some photo's to go up on twitter this evening. 


Thank you again,  - Miss Vaughan (and all of Year 5) LEIGH CENTRAL

PHOTO BELOW: - Rotakids at Petty Pool

  Rotary Helps the NHS


An initiative by Leigh & Wigan Rotary Clubs, the NHS and Wigan Council has been declared a roaring success! Lots of people have found it difficult to return Hospital Equipment after they have finished using it, even when it still looks brand new. That recently changed as Wigan Council established a department that can clean, repair and refurbish Crutches, Zimmer Frames, Perching Stools, Commodes, Wheelchairs and other items.

Following a successful collection of surplus equipment last year, Leigh & Wigan Rotary Clubs staged another event last weekend saving the NHS around £2500. 

Following a collection at the Tesco store, Leigh Rotary’s President Frank Bowker said, “This was a terrific community project, saving money for the local Hospital Trust. Lots of people turned up with Zimmer and Walking frames, Crutches, Bed Frames and many other items. We were pleased to receive many nice comments about this initiative and would like to thank the general public and Leigh Tesco for their support.” In a co-ordinated effort, a similar collection was made by the Wigan Rotary Club at Sunshine House in Wigan.


Let the Children Speak

Speaking in public scares the life out of most people, but imagine having to do it when you are under 12 years old to an audience of over a hundred people! That is what youngsters had to face at Leigh Rotary Club’s “Let the Children Speak” event. 

Ten local schools took part with 26 pupils speaking for 5 minutes on a very wide range of topics of their own choice, ranging from Animals and Sports to very grown-up subjects like Greek Mythology; Ocean Pollution; the Mariana Trench and “Should We Treat Politicians Better?”

Rugby League personality and Rotary member John Stringer acted as MC and after Rotary President Frank Bowker had presented each child with a trophy, he said, “The youngsters who entered this event should be particularly proud, as they had chosen to speak on some difficult subjects, which they presented clearly and kept the audience interested.” He then thanked the teaching staff, parents and pupils and the Directors of Leigh Masonic Hall for allowing the use of their facilities.

The participating schools were from the Leigh Excellence Cluster and included Newton West Park, Westleigh Methodists, Leigh C of E, Bickershaw, Sacred Heart, Leigh St Gabriels/ Higher Folds, XII Apostles, Lowton St Mary’s, Leigh Central and Leigh St Mary’s.



Do you want to join Philip Shepherd in making a difference? 

Phil is raising money as a Friend of The Rotary Club of Leigh in aid of True Colours, who provide support for children and adults with autism, learning disabilities and mental health issues from Leigh and District.

Phil is hoping to raise £1,000 to help fund accessible equipment for True Colours, which will help people with autism and learning disabilities to develop and build their independent living skills – and YOU CAN HELP by giving a donation via the funding websitehttps://www.gofundme.com/PhilShepherdLEJOG

Phil will be covering all the costs of our adventure ie. transport, equipment, accommodation, food and drink, etc. Every penny donated to Leigh Rotary Club, plus any Gift Aid reclaimed will go to True Colours.

He says, “My wife, Heather and daughter, Ella will be my support team. However, they will be doing the journey by car, then meeting me at our campsite or B&B at the end of each day. They will be having some lovely days out while I get a sore bottom! Although Heather will contend that her job is just as hard as mine as she will be pitching up and packing up most days!”

Philip says tells of his crazy reasons for doing this ...

“After running/hobbling the Manchester Marathon in 2016, and injuring myself in the process I vowed that my next big challenge would be by bike. 3 years later, and well into my training, I am realising that cycling from one end of the country to the other is going to be just as hard – physically, mentally and logistically! Over 14 days cycling I will be covering over 1,000 miles through England, Wales and Scotland, taking in some amazing scenery and some scary looking hills.”

Thank you to everyone who helps with sponsorship by donating to such a worthwhile cause. Further details of True Colours can be found on their website: http://www.truecolourscic.co.uk/our-community/





The Rotary Ride Against Prostate Cancer ~ June 2019

The annual Rotary Bike Ride was held in June in aid of Prostate Cancer UK. The party consisted of riders from the Rotary Clubs of Astley and Leigh, as well as prospective members and guests. The 21 riders enjoyed the 10 miles return ride, across Chat Moss, from the Lancashire Mining Museum at Astley Green, to Irlam Railway Station for a leisurely refreshments stop before returning to the Museum just as the rain started. David Jones and family took part along with Roy Edmondson and raised £280 plus Gift Aid for this worthwhile charity.




The Polio eradication programme in Pakistan was in the news for all the wrong reasons. On 22nd April 2019 a hospital in Peshawar was set on fire after children allegedly fell ill after being vaccinated. Then two police officers guarding inoculation staff were killed and on 25th a polio worker was killed, bringing to 90 the number of polio helpers killed since 2012 in Pakistan – all through ignorance and mis-information. Operations have now been suspended for Ramadan and the government has urged Facebook to remove harmful polio related messages which are hindering the campaign, particularly those alleging loss of fertility. This year there have been 18 cases of wild polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and 9 vaccine derived cases in Nigeria, DRC and Somalia. Please support 2 Rotary events – in October we intend to have a presentation at a restaurant in Culcheth and next February we will have a bike ride and collection in Tesco. 

We need to work even harder to succeed totally. 

The world cannot afford to lose the war on polio





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