We have had international links with other Rotary Clubs in Europe since the mid 1960s. Starting with Beausoleil in 1965 these links have grown to encompass Italy (Alba), Sweden (Karlshamn) and Italy (Ovada Del Centenario) in more recent years.
During the early 60's attempts were made to form links with clubs in Austria, Holland and France, none of which was developed.
At the Club Annual General Meeting in May 1965, John Goldwin (Headmaster of Billericay School) reported that he had contacted the Beausoleil Club and that they were interested in forming an international link. Thus in November of that year six Rotarians, three of them with their wives, flew to Paris and them travelled by train to Beausoleil.
In April1966, President Albert Gale with 3 members and their wives made the first official visit to Beausoleil. At the official dinner, President Albert Gale presented a Collar and Jewel to the French President. We continue to honour this tradition by donating a new collar badge to each new Beasoleil President.
A framed sketch, reproduced below, was presented to the Billericay Club on this occasion.
The first return visit by Beausoleil to Billericay took place the following year, in August 1967.
In August 1969, the Rotary Club of Alba, which was already linked with Beausoleil, was invited to form links with the Basildon Club. The first official visit involving all four Clubs took place in August 1970 in England.
On the first day, Monday the 17th, the Billericay members were joined at the Archer Hall by 23 members of the Alba and Beausoleil Clubs with 5 members from Basildon. During the visit, excursions were made to London to see the Russian Ballet and for shopping, to Kent to see the hop fields and Chartwell, and to Southend.
Since that time many members and their families from the four Clubs have enjoyed the close bonds of fellowship that have developed from the official visits and the resulting personal friendships, and which was expanded in 2013 to include Karlshamn clubs from Sweden, and most recently to include a further club Ovada del Centenario, in Italy - now a total of 6 clubs.
This is an international tie that developed due to the enthusiasm of John Goldwin and Dennis Gill and that continues to gain in strength as the years pass.