Visit by District Governor, Mark Stewart Clarke

Meeting on Monday 17th February 2014

 DG Mark Sterwart-ClarkeWe were honoured by a visit from the District Governor, Mark Stewart Clarke, who gave us a characteristically forthright and personal take on the inter-relationship of RI, RIBI, District and the clubs at grass roots level. Having attended the International Assembly in San Diego California in January 2013, it was his duty to spread the message ‘Engage Rotary, Change Lives’ [or Engage Change, Rotary Lives], but he made it clear that the aim of District was to support clubs, not to seek to dictate to them.

The DG emphasised that it was the duty of every Rotarian to help to recruit and retain other members, and he urged us to embrace change by considering new models of membership such as satellite clubs, corporate and associate membership.

During a lively question and answer session, the DG dealt with John Richardson’s well made points that red tape was capable of strangling the kind of initiative that our club had undertaken in years gone by, and that Rotary should be about ‘personal service rather than purse service’. He answered that we were all bound by the law of the land, but could take a realistic and robust approach where appropriate, and he commended low cost community projects. He also commended the reformed grants system.

Finally Mark presented our founder John Richardson with a certificate for sixty years’ service in Rotary. John remarked that this would only get him in trouble with Joyce.

We were delighted to see a returning member of the club, Raghu Das, and hope to see more of him in the future.

At next week’s business meeting, we will have an update on progress in planning our charity beer festival. Members should look at our videos now on social media.