The first event in a packed weekend of celebration for the Charter of the Rotary Club of Bexhill-on-Sea one hundred years ago on 18 th July, 1923 was a Civic Reception at Bexhill Town Hall hosted by the mayor, Councillor Lynn Brailsford. She spoke of the Rotary motto of ‘Service Above Self’ and congratulated the club on living up to it’s ideals with incredible achievements over 100 years and presented the club with a magnificent brass bell.
This years Bexhill Rotary President, James Slinn, thanked the mayor for the Civic Reception and read out a letter form the President of Rotary International congratulating the club on it’s centenary and commitment to service. This was followed by Paul Mertens, President of our Sister Club of Gouda, in the Netherlands, who spoke of the long term links between, not only the clubs, but also our two countries, linked by the ideals of philosophy since the sixteenth century. He reminded us of the Rotary four way test – is it the Truth, Is it Fair to all concerned, will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships and will it be Beneficial to all concerned? Paul then presented James with a new presidential jewel.
This was followed by an evening barbecue at the Cooden Tennis Club where we were able to socialise with our friends from Gouda over a mouth watering array of food.
On Saturday we met and took our guests to Beachy Head and Birling Gap where they were enthralled by the magnificent Sussex scenery and enjoyed learning a little about the history of the three lighthouses visible as well as braving the strong winds walking to the Victorian Belle Tout one perched high up on the clifftop. After a light pub lunch in Jevington we returned to Bexhill to prepare for the grand finale of celebrations, the Gala Dinner at the Powdermills Hotel.
The culmination for the weekend of celebrations was the Gala Dinner at the Powdermills Hotel. President James welcomed his guests who included, in addition to many friends of the club, the Town Mayor, the Rotary District Governor (Ray Seager), members of Gouda Rotary Club, members of Bexhill 41 Club and the Presidents of other local Rotary Clubs. Toasts were proposed by the Mayor and the Rotary District Governor who also presented two members of the Bexhill Club,
Brian Cope and Bill Smith, with Paul Harris Fellowships – one of the highest honours given to Rotarians - in recognition of their longstanding commitment and work for Rotary ideals. This was followed by a witty poem penned and read by a Gouda member in celebration of the links between our clubs.
After the toasts and a delicious meal, entertainment was provided by the master of ceremonies, Tony Harris aka Margaret Thatcher, and the talented singer Lizzii Hills As the evening and the commemorative weekend drew to a close the Bexhill-on-Sea Rotary Club looks forward to the next 100 years of service to the Bexhill Community.
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