Recollections from Past Presidents

Some of Our Past Presidents Recollect

Gavin R.Reekie (President 1958-59)
Past District Governor, District 1010 Scotland North.
Introduced to the Rotary Club of Cupar, 1950, sponsored by Willie Reid, Chemist.

The Courier of Thursday, June 5th, 1958 reported that Mr.Gavin Reekie, 43 year old head of Farm Mechanisation, was yesterday appointed President of Cupar Rotary Club.
The man who put new blood into the post war East Coast agricultural industry, he first made his impact when he founded Farm Mechanisation at Ladybank. Since then he has designed many implements to make farming easier and more productive. A year ago he closed down the Ladybank works and moved into new premises close to Cupar Railway Station. He has also opened branches at Dunfermlinc and Stirling.
Mr.Reekie a holder of the O.B.E. is Vice-President of the Agricultural Engineers Association (Scottish section).
Provost John Nairn of Ladybank master builder, who is equally well known for his farming and local government interests, was elected Vice-President.
Gavin's early international Rotary contacts were fostered when he joined the first Rotary Curling Tour to North America as a late substitute in 1957. The following year when the North American Curling Team came to Scotland, he passed his two guests to Tom Bruce of the Dundee Rotary Club who at the time was District Extension Officer. It was he who persuaded Gavin into succeeding him as District Extension Officer.
The period 1959-1962 saw Gavin heavily involved in the formation of Stornoway,1959, Peterhead,1960, Kirriemuir 1961, St.Machar 1961 and Abertay, 1962.

Gavin was also instrumental in persuading the Rotary lnternational President of the day, Carl Miller to approve the formation of the International Golfing Fellowship of Rotary. He organised the first IGFR tournaments at St Andrews in 1964 and 1965, followed by St.Andrews again in 1974 and Gleneagles in 1984. Gavin went on to participate in and take a continuing interest in the IGFR to the present day.
In District he suggested and was then asked to organise the first Group Study Exchange to Japan. In 1970 the team from Japan arrived and stayed in Rotary homes also spending a 3 day study in St Andrews House, Edinburgh.

Gavin was the Rotary International President’s personal representative at the Rotary District 2400 Conference in Kristiansand in Sweden.

Ron J. Smith (President 1982-83)
Ron was President during a momentous year when the Club celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Presentation of the Club's Charter with a formal dinner at the Corn Exchange on Friday, 12th November,1982. The Principal guest speaker that evening was Sir John Orr, Chief Constable Lothian and Borders, while the entertainment was provided by Jimmy Urquhart. The Membership roll of the Club that year was 60 strong.

That year also saw the Club raising funds at a highly successful Cheese and Wine Evening which allowed the Club to make a presentation of sports and play equipment to Dalgairn Adult Training Centre.

Jack Weir (President 1984-85)
The Wine and Cheese Evening held during Jack’s year in office attracted a company of more than 300, enabling the Club to raise £1,250 towards the Charity Fund. Jack presented Richard Brickley of the File Sports Association for the Disabled with a cheque for £200 to help send a parry to the Olympics for the Disabled which were to take place in the Isle of Man.
At the same occasion, a heavy duty trolley purchased by the Club was handed over to Jean Hassan, caretaker of the Corn Exchange, to make her work that bit lighter.

Leslie McAndrew (President 1988-89)
At Leslie's installation as Club President in July 1988, the Club had a prominent guest speaker, Sir Alan Smith, Ardgairney House Cleish, President of Dawson International Textile Group.
Later in the course of Leslie's Presidency patients in Ward 13 of Stratheden Hospital were presented with a patio area for outdoor recreation and summer barbecues. The sum of £400 was made available to convert a derelict area at the rear of the ward to be improved by an Employment Training Squad.

Ronnie M. Law (President 1992-93)
The years have passed since Ronnie was President of the Club and although the passage of time is inclined to dim memories, the most memorable occasion of his year was the Club’s 60th anniversary dinner.
When Ronnie was asked to become President directly from the body of the kirk without formal training (both President Elect and Vice-President could not fulfil their duties because of ill health) and having agreed to accept, the Council Members gently dropped their bombshell by informing him that he would have to chair the Dinner.
The committee dealing with the event had done much of the preparation but Ronnie's role required him to prepare his speech and introductions of guest speakers. This involved enormous research and contacts, but he faced up to what seemed a daunting and awesome task.
When the day dawned, Ronnie said to himself "here goes" and wore an expression of ‘Whau daur meddle wi' me' while admitting to quaking inwardly! He then realised that he was there to enjoy himself and the evening took off with a humorous Grace from David Clark which set the tone for the rest of the evening. Former Club Member Dick Morgan from Wales had the company in stitches and alarmed the chairman by over-running his time. One of the evening's highlights was the entertainment provided by Tayport Silver Band. This was all due to the late Duncan Campbell Club President in 1986-87, who had legendary status among the band fraternity and organised this appearance in the greatest secrecy.
Another feature of the event was the commemorative booklet researched by Archie Marr, Club President in 1985-86 which featured every Club Member at the time. Regrettably, Archie died before completion and Duncan Campbell saw it into print.
The Club was presented with an engraved goblet by our daughter Club, the Howe of Fife Rotary Club to mark the 60th anniversary and holds pride of place in Ronnie's home.

John L.Hendry (President 1996-97)
The Club's Profile in John’s year extended well beyond our normal local boundaries with the entry of a team in Grampian Television's Top Club Quiz arranged by Rotarian Jim Robertson with our team comprising Aubin Roger, Alastair Clark and Bill Nicoll. As the team progressed through the preliminary rounds, the Club support travelled with them to Aberdeen for the recordings with quizmaster Frank Gilfeather and were rewarded with a place in the final only to be defeated by a team from Edzell. The appearance and prize money resulted in donations of £1,500 each to Water Aid and Sightsavers on behalf of the Club.

The presentation of a Paul Harris Fellowship to our Past District Governor Gavin was the first such award in the Club and John had the pleasure and honour of hosting the event and presenting the award in the company of a large turn out of members and friends.
This was a also a year when Cupar was chosen to host an incoming Group Study Exchange from District 9320, South Africa. John tried to involve as many Club Members as possible in this project and had the additional challenge of hosting the District Farewell dinner for the visiting group. This was a memorable evening which paid off due to the hard work and preparation which went into it.

Sandy R.Mitchell (President 1997-98)
1997-1998 was the year when the theme was "Show Rotary Cares".
Among the highlights at the lunchtime meetings was a poetry day. This year also saw the presentation of a Community Service Award to Jean Hassan, much respected Hallkeeper at Cupar Corn Exchange in recognition for the excellent service she provided to the Club and the many other community groups who used the building.
It was an active year for Club Visitations to other Clubs, no fewer than 12 being undertaken in the course of the year. Three new Members were introduced to the Club in this year and Sandy also found time to instigate the annual joint meeting between Howe of Fife Rotary Club, Inner Wheel and the Rotary Club of Cupar.
Thc Annual Charity Golf Day which Sandy organises each year was introduced in his Presidential Year and is anticipated among all those who participate not only for the golf but the quality of fellowship.

Bruce Rollo (President 1998-99)
Bruce’s first impressions and abiding memory on becoming President was to see all the names on the Chain of Office of the well known Cuparians who had been President over the years. Many were known to Bruce personally from his youth and he was honoured to follow in their footsteps. It was also a moment of great sentimentality as his father had also been President of the Club.

Another abiding memory was the barbecue held at Rotarian Bill Pagan’s house, Belmore Lodge. It was the first Club Barbecue on the scale organised to be held for some years. In fact a video once shown by Past President Jack Weir to the Club pictured a barbecue at Brackland when Bruce's father Landale was resident there. Bruce and the Club had reason to be grateful to Bill and Gillian Pagan for making their garden and house available to the Club, the arrangements with Elmwood College who took on the preparation and serving of the food and the seemingly limitless supplies of wine which Bill had brought in person from France. Even the variable weather did not detract from an excellent and memorable day for Rotarians and their guests.

Jack H.Fitzgerald (President 1999-00)
Special memories during Jack’s year as President are many, whether it was fund raising, serving the community or helping those overseas. To single out one special memory, Jack selected the Club's Charity Cycle Run which raised almost £7,000 towards CHAS.
The considerable preparatory work was a real club effort from the planning of routes by Past President Gavin J Reekie, the organisation of stewards, the pre-event publicity to encourage participation from a wide spectrum of the local community, seeking out of sponsorship. After all the preliminary work, the cycling seemed effortless.

Graham Pirie (President 2000-01)
The Club’s first Sportsman's Dinner on 27th October,2000 at the Corn Exchange which raised £2,782 for the Club's Charity Fund.
The Inaugural Past President’s Dinner at Rathcluan House on 23rd March, 2001.
The presentation of a Paul Harris award to Ronnie Law at Rathcluan house, 24th June, 2001.

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Club President Colin Mackenzie presents the 2019 trophy to the team from Dairsie Primary School

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