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Rotary club celebrates 50 years of fundraising

PUBLISHED: 11:06 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:09 11 January 2019

Swaffham Rotary Club members presenting a £3500 cheque raised from an annual charity golf day to EACH in 2015. 
Picture: MATTHEW USHER

Swaffham Rotary Club members presenting a £3500 cheque raised from an annual charity golf day to EACH in 2015. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2015

When Swaffham Rotary Club was founded by a group of like-minded local people in 1969, it had just a handful of members, with local bank manager Ken Reeve appointed president.

Swaffham Rotary Club donated £5,000 to buy 60 chairs for the Nicholas Hammond Academy lecture theatre in 2014. Pictured is then club president John Wallace with staff and students. 
Picture: MATTHEW USHERSwaffham Rotary Club donated £5,000 to buy 60 chairs for the Nicholas Hammond Academy lecture theatre in 2014. Pictured is then club president John Wallace with staff and students. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

Its inaugural meeting, in June of that year, was attended by more than 100 representatives from 20 Rotary clubs from as far afield as Brentwood and Burnham-on-Crouch, and the club has since become a significant part of community life.

After helping Swaffham Round Table run the town carnival in 1972, club members embarked on a string of local projects, twinning with Rue Baie de Somme Rotary Club, in France, in 1975; founding a Rotaract Club for young people in 1980; hosting students from Japan and Brazil in the 1990s, and running a European youth camp.

Swaffham's month-long annual Rotary Visual Arts Festival, which has become a major event in the town calendar since being held as a weekend event in 1996.
Picture: MATTHEW USHERSwaffham's month-long annual Rotary Visual Arts Festival, which has become a major event in the town calendar since being held as a weekend event in 1996. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

A charity golf day first held five years ago has become a major annual fundraising event, while an art exhibition organised by a group of Rotarians in 1996 at Mundford village hall has grown into Swaffham’s hugely popular annual Rotary Visual Arts Festival.

Originally held over one weekend in September, it is now a month-long festival raising up to £7,000 for charity and featuring a programme of events ranging from drama performances, talks and film screenings, to exhibitions of paintings, photography, sculpture and ceramics.

The Rotary annual charity golf day, which has raised thousands for charity since being held at Swaffham Golf Club for the first time in 2013.
Picture: IAN BURTThe Rotary annual charity golf day, which has raised thousands for charity since being held at Swaffham Golf Club for the first time in 2013. Picture: IAN BURT

Local, national and international charities supported by the group have ranged from Swaffham and Litcham Home Hospice, Norfolk Blind Association and the Friends of Swaffham Community Hospital, to Riding for the Disabled, Water Aid and Doctors Without Borders.

Swaffham Rotarian Denis Bishop said an anniversary programme of events including a photography competition, a charity tea and a town trail would give local people a chance to find out about the club’s 50 years of service to the community.

He added: “Rotary not only gives business and professional people a chance to get together and share information and fellowship, it also allows them to use their knowledge and expertise to raise funds for deserving causes.”

The club is this month launching a year-long ‘Capture Swaffham’ photography competition, with winners announced quarterly. For more information, or to find out more about Swaffham Rotary Club events and projects, visit www.swaffhamrotary.org.uk

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