Founder’s Night is back again

After an unfortunate break forced on us by the restrictions of Covid the Rotary Club of Rayleigh Mill was happy to revive the tradition of holding a special meeting to commemorate the first Rotary meeting on February 23rd, 1905, in downtown Chicago.


Paul Harris, a stranger in Chicago, had befriended a local, Bob Frank, who impressed Paul Harris with his knowledge of the local area and his friendship with many of the local business proprietors.

Paul eventually persuaded a number of business associates to consider the idea of forming an organisation where young professionals could meet socially. The first meeting of the business associates Paul Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey took place in Loehr’s office in downtown Chicago when they decided to formalise the arrangements and form an organisation.

That fateful meeting is considered to be the first meeting of the organisation that has grown to be the worldwide organisation of Rotary International.

In 1998, at the instigation of Rotarian Alan Clark, the Rotary club of Rayleigh Mill invited a number of clubs in their immediate area to join them in commemorating this momentous occasion.

In the years since then, until the Covid pandemic, the meeting became a regular annual event, hosted by a number of clubs in rotation, at which the members of the participating clubs were happy to get together to renew old acquaintances, compare notes and enjoy the fellowship of fellow Rotarians.

With the threat of Covid hopefully banished to the past, the members of the Rotary Club of Rayleigh Mill were anxious to revive this popular get-together and, through the auspices of their Social Secretary, Alec Gibb, the club arranged a Founders Night Meeting at Saxon Hall, Southend on Monday 22nd January when District President, Dave Willis joined members from Rayleigh Mill, Rochford, Westcliff, Wickford, Manningtree Stour Valley and Hadleigh Castle to enjoy an excellent meal in convivial company and listen to an extremely detailed talk on the history of the Avro Vulcan VX264 and the Vulcan Society.

The table-plan mixed members from different clubs and all Rotarians who attended took the opportunity to get re-acquainted with old friends, compare notes, and establish new friendships. The evening was an undoubted success with all who attended enjoying the friendship and fellowship that was the original intention of that meeting on 23rd February 1905 and looking forward to the next Founders night in 2025.   

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