When I retired 7 years ago, I decided to pursue a long overdue interest in the Arts. So, I made a tour of The Wallace Collection, the Wigmore Hall, the Tates Britain, Modern and Margate, The National Gallery, The British and John Soanes Museums, theatres and many others. Two months later, I found myself doing the same again and made acquaintances with the Fragonards, the Frans Hals, the Rembrandts and others.
But this approach to retirement was not totally satisfying. Nor was volunteering and mentoring that I also tried.
Then I heard of Rotary - an organisation of professional men and women that meets weekly in Marylebone on Thursday lunchtimes. The Rotary Club of St. Marylebone is one of 64 in London, of 35,000 clubs in 190 countries around the world and with a global membership of 1,300,000.
I believe you will almost certainly have heard of the "End Polio Now" campaign that Rotary has spearheaded over the last 3 decades that has been responsible for a reduction of the number of polio cases from more than 300,000 a year in 160 countries to only 82 cases in 3 countries last year. But we are not content even with this significant success - the target is zero new cases a year - and we are nearly there!
Whilst the Polio campaign has hit the headlines for obvious reasons, each of the 35,000 clubs has its own individual projects in the fields of education, medical support and poverty relief. The St. Marylebone Club has worked closely with charities in the Church Street area of Marylebone in the last years, especially with The Portman Early Childhood Centre and its associated activities. We have also supported an orphanage in Cambodia.
From 1 July, when I shall become the President of the Rotary Club of St. Marylebone, the local charities we shall support are the Lejeune Clinic in St. John's Wood that helps families whose children are born with Downs Syndrome and the West London Day Centre and the Marylebone Project that supports, respectively, homeless men and women. Our international project for the year will be with a school in South Africa supporting children with epilepsy, autism and cerebral palsy. All these charitable organisations depend on private funding.
I believe these are all deserving causes!
The Club meets on Thursday lunchtimes [12.30 pm] at The Oriental Club, Stratford Place, off Oxford Street [from 3 July] when we enjoy lunch and fellowship whilst listening to interesting outside speakers. The several Club committees plan the project work and social activities as well as the shared functions with other local clubs. Some evening functions are also arranged.
Members are encouraged/ expectected to visit the other 34,999 clubs world-wide when they are travelling!
Most certainly we can book your time for you in many interesting ways.
I look forward to hearing from many of you.
phone - 02074874347