OUR HISTORY/ Significant events

Details of significant events and projects that have taken place during the life of the Rotary Club of Newcastle upon Tyne

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1923 Annual Dinner : The Club held its Annual Dinner at the Grand assembly Rooms in Newcastle. A copy of the programme for the evening may be viewed on this site.

1924  The first No.3 District Conference held at Whitley Bay; the President of Rotary International (RI), Guy Gundakar, visited the Club together with, Past President Frank Mulholland and R.I.B.I. President Frank Eastman. In this year Members of the Club took a prominent part in the formation of the Northumberland and Newcastle Society which has done a great deal for the preservation of the amenities of County and City.

1925  The sum of £428 was raised on behalf of YMCA Boys Clubs.This is equivalent to over £12,800 in today's value.

1928 Our Club was visited by Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, on 6th July. For details, see the record on the Rotary Global History Fellowship website.

1929  The North East Coast Exhibition, which was opened by HRH the Prince of Wales, took place in the Exhibition Park between May and October and was attended by over 4.3 million people. It was a symbol of pride and industrial success of the region and at the same time an advertisement for local industry and commerce. Our Club entertained numerous distinguished visitors to the exhibition and maintained a rest house for Rotarians in the grounds.

1931  The Club had a large representation at the Rotary International Convention in Vienna.

1932-33  We were visited by R.I. President Clinton P. Anderson of New Mexico and also by President Eilif Amundsen and 26 Members of the Rotary Club of Bergen, Norway.

1934 Newcastle Rotarians made a reciprocal visit to Norway. In this year of trade depression, the Club gave strong support to Newcastle Unemployed Welfare Committee and the "Wise Spending" Campaign. On 14th May, the Club was visited by the President of Rotary International  John Nelson.

1935  H.R.H. The Duke of Kent (Patron of British Rotary) honoured the Club at luncheon.

1936  A Special Meeting was held on 20th August to celebrate the Club`s 21st anniversary and honour the thirteen remaining founder members who had assisted in the foundation of the Club. Funds raised and commemorative tablet erected at the Leazes Orthopaedic Hospital to mark the occasion. The Hamburg Club entertained a party of eighteen from Newcastle in June.

1937  Visit of Emeritus President Paul Harris, founder of Rotary International on 16th July. For further information, see the record on the Rotary Global History Fellowship website.

1940  The Club helped to supply the R.I.B.I. ambulance fleet and several mobile x-ray units in addition to purely Club projects for aid of the forces

1944  Visit of Rotary International President Dick Wells of Pocatello, Idaho, and the General Secretary of R.I., Rotarian Phil Lovejoy of Chicago.

1946 We supported the "Aid to Norway" appeal, as result of which goods to the value of £13,700.00 were purchased, packed and dispatched from the District to help with the restoration of ravaged areas of Norway.

1950  On Friday, 18th August, 1950, the 35th Anniversary of the foundation of the Club was celebrated and honour done to the then remaining five founder members. The president of R.I.B.I., was present on the occasion along with many District representatives.

1951  On 28th and 29th May we received a visit of Bergen Rotarians and the City`s Chamber of Commerce Orchestra, who gave a concert in Newcastle City Hall, as a result of which £141.00 was contributed to the H.M.S. Affray Fund.

1955  Celebration of Rotary`s Jubilee, and the honouring of the remaining two founder members of the Club, Edward Allan and F.W.Cawthorn, who were given its "Freedom" Presentation of Silver Bugle to the 1st Battalion Royal Northumberland Fusiliers to replace one of those destroyed during the war. Provision of First Aid Hut for the Gosforth Park Permanent Scout Camp.

1960  The sum of £1,220.00 was raised among members towards the appeal fund for World Refugee Year. This is worth over £18,000 in today's value.

1965  Golden Jubilee. The Club celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1965. The actual anniversary was our ordinary meeting on 20th August. This was treated as a domestic occasion. The address was given by the President and the final toast was proposed by Past President Charles Brackenbury. On 26th September a Thanksgiving Service was held in the Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas, the preacher being the Provost, Rotarian Canon Wolters. A Golden Jubilee Dinner was held in the Old Assembly Rooms on 29th September. Jouko E. Huttunen, Director of Rotary International represented the President of R.I. at the Dinner. Also present at the dinner were the Presidents of our two Sponsor Clubs, R.W.Birchenall of Manchester and A.N.Campbell of Edinburgh  and they presented the Club respectively with a Silver Loving Cup and with a leather bound Visitors`Book. The Presidents of our daughter Clubs were present and gave the Club a pair of reading desks. Subsequently the Kendal Club presented us with a hand-carved ashtray. As a service to the community in Jubilee year a substantial sum was given towards the building of a sun lounge at Hunters Moor Hospital. To promote international understanding a special interchange of English and Dutch children took place the following summer.

1968 Hobbies Exhibition in Gosforth Park Racecourse. The Club sponsored an exhibition of hobbies in Gosforh Park. The event took over the racecourse and included a recently restored pre-war model of an American railway engine, which ran under steam for the first time since it was restored. It ran on lines temporarily installed down the finishing straight of the racecourse. A special commemmorative envelope and Post Office franking stamp also marked the occasion. The Club had 162 members in that year.

1970  In May a Rotary Bookshop in Newcastle raised funds to purchase a mini-bus for the School for the Deaf, Newcastle upon Tyne.

1971  In May the Newcastle Rotaract Club was established.

1975  Diamond Jubilee. The sixtieth anniversary of the Club was celebrated on 22nd August, 1975. On that day a Jubilee Dinner in Newcastle Civic Centre took the place of the customary luncheon meeting. The President, W.R.Farrer was supported by Bill Swan, President of the Manchester Club and President Jack Rolland from Edinburgh, our other parent Club. About 100 members and their wives were present. Dinner was followed by dancing until 1a.m. As a souvenir of the occasion every member and all guests received a dish of blue screen-printed in two colours with a kingfisher decoration designed by James Alder.

1978  Past Presidents Rupert Clay, Walter Dixon and Syd Hetherington looked after a young girl who came over for special medical treatment under the auspices of the Rotary Club of Safad in Haifa. The girl was accompanied by her mother who spoke only Hebrew. However the help of the local Rabbi was sought and the language problem was solved. In appreciation the Safad Club planted a tree in the Paul Harris Forest in the Hills of Galilee in the name of our Club. A copy of the planting certificate was sent to us.

1980  Rotary International - 75th Anniversary. On 22nd February 1980 in the Banqueting Suite of the Newcastle Civic Centre, jointly with the Rotary Clubs of Newcastle West, Heaton and Gosforth, the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Rotary movement was celebrated at a luncheon meeting. In the chair was Harry Nicholson and the speakers included the District Governor and the High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear, Rotarian R.H.Dunford.

1987 Polio Plus Campaign. An International Project of Rotary to immunise children against Polio was launched with a target of £100.00 per Rotarian  our Club target was therefore £10,000.00. A Trust Fund was formed and several members entered into Deeds of Covenant enabling the Club to recover Income Tax on charitable donations.

1990 75th Anniversary of the Founding of the Club. On Friday 21st September 1990, some 200 members and guests gathered for dinner in the Crest Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Club. The guest of honour was the President of one of our Mother Clubs  Edinburgh, who presented our Club with a "Quaich"

1991  The final payment to the Polio Plus Campaign was made bringing our total to £12,000.00 - £2000.00 above the target. This figure would provide immunisation for 72,000 children in third world countries.

1992  The Club Trust Fund had completed four years span and most of the original subscribers to the Covenant Scheme renewed their covenants. During the four years Members had subscribed £8,132.00 to which was added £2,764.00 in respect of recovered Income Tax. All of this was dispersed to local and other charities, Polio Plus and Rotary Foundation. Past Presidents Rupert Clay and Roy Peacock were awarded Paul Harris Fellowships in recognition of their distinguished service to Rotary.

1995/96  80th Anniversary of the Founding of the Club. The Club`s 80th Anniversary was celebrated on 23rd September by 300 Members and guests at the Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne. Guests of honour included the Lord and Lady Mayoress, R.I. Director John Kenny and Mrs. Kenny and District Governor Jim Suthering and Mrs. Suthering. John Kenny presented six members of the Club with the award of Paul Harris Fellowship. The Christmas Street Collection this year raised £4,250.00 for the North East Children`s Cancer Research. Our President and members attended the Manchester Club`s 85th Charter Night on 10th April 1996. Our Club was visited on 31st May by R..I.B.I. President Noel Fryer and two Club members attended the R.I. Convention in Calgary, Alberta.

1996/97 A combined Community and Vocational Services Committee was established. Considerable financial support was given to the Leonard Cheshire Home for a special chair, Salvation Army for bedroom fittings for their new hostel, Brunswick Methodist Church support funding for their Listening Post and Young Peoples` Association. Support was also given to young people undertaking community work in Brazil, Indonesia, Uganda and Ghana. A huge quantity of essential drugs unobtainable in Russia was handed over to Dr. Sasha of Minsk Hospital for the treatment of children still suffering from the effects of the Chernobyl atomic power station disaster.

1998/99  The Club was awarded by District with two special banners to mark the achievement of the highest contributions per member and the highest contribution of any Club in the District to Rotary Foundation.

1999/00  Past President Marilyn Potts was elected District Governor Nominee for 2001/02 at the District Conference in Harrogate. In consequence she became, in 2001/02 the first lady District Governor in R.I.B.I.

2000/01  A Millenium Appeal organised by Past President Harold Robson raised just over £7,000 for the Northern Counties School for the Deaf.

2001/02.A major effort by the International Services Committee initiated and largely driven by Rotarian Audrey Gough, with considerable help from many members, resulted in a sum of $50,000.including a Matching Grant from Rotary International, being used to provide much needed medical equipment for a hospital in Lae, Papua/New Guinea.

2002/03 A Dinner was held at Close House nr. Wylam to celebrate the 90th Birthday of the Club`s oldest and longest serving Rotarian (joined Rotary in 1946) Rupert Clay.

2004/05  This year the Club celebrated not only the 90th Anniversary of its founding but also the 100th Anniversary of Rotary International. As part of the Centennial Celebrations, the Club submitted an entry to the District Centennial Poster Competition from Toby Derham, a student with the Royal Grammar School As the overall winner of the competition, Toby won £250 for himself and £250 for his school. The Club also organised and set up a Rotary Centennial Exhibition in the Central Library, Princess Square and participated with other city Rotary Clubs in the naming of a "Rotary Way" for the road linking the Gosforth Marriott Hotel with the A1.

2005/06  Through the year there was a steady stream of visitors to the Club. Notable among those were the Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne Coun. David Slesinger and the R.I.B.I.President Mike Webb. An unusual visit came from eight Rotarians from Norway on a visit to Newcastle no doubt prompted by Newcastle`s reputation as a "Party City"

2006/07  More than 20 years after his first stint as President, Syd Hetherington once again assumed the responsibility. He quickly instituted much needed refurbishments to the President`s Chair and Chain of Office including the President`s Jewel.

2009/10 - Preparations for the Club`s Centenary Year in 2015 commenced with a decision taken at the AGM to increase annual subscriptions for each member by £5.00 to cover the centenary celebration costs. It was agreed that a Centenary Dinner should be organised.