Free Portland News

August 2020, by Keith


The mould has been broken.

Avid reads of F.P.N. will know that Rotary started as a male–only club in 1905.  Logically, and luckily, we became a dual gender organisation a few years ago – against, I have to say, the wishes of many ladies for a variety of reasons, one of which was that they feared this would start the demise of female-only organisations.  That has not happened.

Rotarians have now gone a step further and we have selected Jennifer Jones, a Canadian, to be the first female President of Rotary International in 2022-2023.  At 50 she is the youngest President we have ever had.  I worked with Jennifer at a Conference in Sao Paolo a few years ago, and found her to be vibrant, vital, extremely well organised and capable, a great speaker and motivator and a leader full of personality.  Dare I say it, a vast change from grumpy old men like me!!  In the past we seem to have gone for older Presidents with “more experience”, but Jennifer, having joined Rotary at a very young age has been there and done it!   She runs her own very successful media company and so is ideally placed to spread the Rotary gospel around the world.  We should have a good year.

Readers will also be aware that at the end of each Rotary year, i.e. 30th. June, our club presents a Community Award - Citizen of the Year award - to someone from the island who has gone that extra step in helping others.   Someone who, perhaps, works quietly behind the scenes to keep the wheels moving, or maybe a leader of a group.  What we are looking for are nominations from members of the public of a special person who fills these criteria.  Because of Covid we are a little later this year, but things are starting to open up, at long last.  There is also a flyer in this edition of FPN telling you all about it.

We had hoped that we might be able to start up out Table Top Sales in the near future, with social distancing of course, but, with the bug still floating around the UK, we have decided to wait a month or two and review the situation then.  My apologies for all those of you who are missing the fun and fellowship that we see at these events.  For once this is due to circumstances entirely beyond our control.

Having said that, the Rotary work continues and we are now getting used to chatting to each other via cameras.  I have to say that it is not as much fun as being able to talk face to face across a table, but it saves money on travelling, cuts down pollution for those who drive to our meetings, and saves a lot of time – we simply log on at home at 6.30 p.m., and then log off as soon as business is done.  The world will be different when Covid has gone, and I have a feeling that Rotary is starting to move in a different, younger, more hi-tech direction as well.    If this means that we can help more people more quickly I am all for it.                      Keith.

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