The Rotary Club of King’s Lynn may not be the oldest club in Norfolk but in a few weeks time my Rotary membership will represent 48 per cent of the 88 years the club has been in existence. Thus I enjoy the dubious privilege of being (not quite the oldest) but the longest serving past president of our club.
Perhaps, with a bit of luck, I may still be around to see the club celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2016.
Following an initiative by the Lynn mayor, a Rotary Club was formed in 1926 by the great and the good of the town and the very first President, AG Hawkins became district chairman in 1936, being the first of six district governors provided.
Over the years, the club was responsible for the formation of six new clubs and when I joined in 1972 our membership totalled 74 and it was just about the time that the second Rotary Club in Lynn - Rotary - began.
So what has changed? I can only speculate on the 46 years prior to me joining, but looking back at members’ names, they certainly represented the cream of the social, business, professional and commercial life of the times. Banks paid for their managers’ subscriptions amongst their other benefits; the medical profession, educationalists, local government officers and the clergy all found the time, whilst solicitors and accountants vied for membership.
Today the numbers are different, we have 33 members and if you add to that number, Priory’s and Trinity’s, there are now more Rotarians in the borough than ever before. There is no doubt that membership is now drawn from a wider sector than before. Currently we no longer have any representation from the church, medics or the banks but we do have a very healthy segment of keen, active younger business leaders. The ideals of Rotary are as strong as ever. Rotarians of today have a tough time out in the cold world of commerce, but when they put their minds to it, things get done in spectacular style.