The Rotary Club of Derby celebrates centenary with a series of special events and fund-raising plans

PUBLISHED: 00:00 02 August 2018

Members of Derby Rotary Club ahead of their centenary celebrations at Elvaston Castle

Members of Derby Rotary Club ahead of their centenary celebrations at Elvaston Castle

geoff ford

A Derby group has been celebrating 100 years of supporting good causes and making a difference to the community

Derby Arboretum gets a Green Flag awardDerby Arboretum gets a Green Flag award

The Rotary Club of Derby has been celebrating its Centenary with a series of special events and fund-raising plans that help showcase its work and celebrate its achievements.

The President for the club’s landmark year is Pat Zadora, well known for helming the Padley Group charity in Derby, she is now concentrating on leading the Rotary Club of Derby in 2018.

She says: ‘I was very honoured when I was elected President for this very special year, which will be full of our normal projects but will also see the fruition of our Centenary Projects and events to recognise our 100 years.’

The Rotary Club of Derby was founded before the end of the First World War. Businessmen came together on 4th December 1917 to decide whether to set up a club of this new thing called Rotary. It had all started in America 13 years earlier when a Chicago businessman, Paul Harris, called together some of his colleagues to meet at lunchtimes to network and to put something back into the community. It was called Rotary as they moved meetings around each other’s offices.

Lighting Derby's Council House purple on World Polio DayLighting Derby's Council House purple on World Polio Day

The movement came to the UK and quickly took off with Rotary Clubs starting up and down the country with Derby being the twentieth.

Pat says: ‘It grew very rapidly and now across the world we have 1.2 million members, and in the UK and many other countries, clubs are virtually in every town and city and while things have changed over the years to reflect the times, the ethos remains the same – Service Above Self.

Members are all age groups from 30 onwards brought together through a desire to make a difference.

‘Because we have such a good mix of people of all age groups and skills we can use our time and skills in helping groups and charities achieve their goals by offering our service and giving so much more than money alone. People who are Rotarians put service above themselves. They want to make a difference, but they aren’t looking for payback.

Members of Interact with TV personality and auctioneer Charles HansonMembers of Interact with TV personality and auctioneer Charles Hanson

‘In Derby over the years we have supported a wide range of good causes. We have been strong supporters of Padley, Derby Children’s Holiday Centre, Rainbows, Treetops, and a whole range of other charities, community groups and schools.

‘We have an Interact club at Woodlands School and are in the process of starting another at Lees Brook. Interact is Rotary for young people aged 12-18. It’s about young people learning to make a difference, gaining leadership skills and supporting charities which are important to them. We’re also working with two primary schools to build – with the support of local businesses – Eco-Greenhouses, out of 2 litre plastic bottles.’

There are 53 members in the Rotary Club of Derby, which is a lunchtime club. It has spawned other Clubs over the years in Ashbourne, Ripley, Wirksworth and in Derby – Derby Daybreak, an early morning club; Derby South and Derby Mercia, both evening clubs. Pat says: ‘They have all grown out of The Rotary Club of Derby and offer a full range of meeting times to suit all needs and flexibility in attendance. In addition, last August we launched a Satellite of the Club, which is aimed at people who have the Rotary values but a working or family life that makes it difficult to fit everything in but like the regularity of a monthly meeting after work. So whatever your age and commitments we like to think we have a slot for you. You don’t have to be in business – you might be a community worker or volunteer, the important thing is that you share our values, and if you do, you are very welcome.

‘Some people say Rotary is elitist, but it’s not at all. It’s just 1.2 million like-minded people across the world who share the same ideals.’

In addition to all the additional activity and profile events in the Centenary Year, Derby Rotary has also carried on with business as usual and responded to national and international disasters.

Pat says, ‘It’s been a very special year for us in the Club and we have achieved a lot, but I have to say that we are standing on the shoulders of giants. The achievements that have been made over the last 100 years have been phenomenal and the difference we have made to organisations, groups and charities has been tremendous. And that’s what Rotary is about, making a difference for people who can’t make that difference for themselves.’

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