The club enjoyed Rotarian Ken Adderley’s personal summary of the history of Rotary International. Going back over 100 years to 1905 which saw the first gatherings of business men in Chicago who then suggested the name: “Booster Club”, since the main objective was to boost each company’s profits. Their motto was “He profits most who serves best”. Another reason for its formation was the loneliness of the founder, Paul Harris, a solicitor who lacked companionship, having moved from cosy New England to Central Chicago.

The 1920’s, which witnessed vigorous debate on the contribution that women could make to a solely men’s organisation, saw the formation of the first Soroptimist Club for professional women, which had aims closely linked to those of Rotary. The Wives of Rotarians were welcomed into the organisation, but not as Rotarians but as members of The Inner Wheel the first Club being formed in California (1921), in Manchester (1924), The Midlands (1934) and in Kidderminster (1942). By 1998, after prolonged discussion, Rotary’s Council of Legislation declared all Rotary Clubs to be dual gender.

Ken reminded fellow Rotarians that since then, Rotary Clubs in over 200 Countries world-wide have established: Rotakids Clubs for primary school pupils; Interact Clubs for senior school pupils; and Rotaract Clubs for young people. All carry the message of service to the community, through projects and sometimes through fund-raising.

From a tiny beginning of US $26 in 1917, and devoted enthusiasm of many people the Rotary Scholarship Fund, now called Rotary Foundation, benefits young people of all ages. It is now valued at US$ 55,000,000. Only the interest is used, but its arms encompass funding several different educational projects as well as supporting the World Health Organisation; one example being the Polio Plus Programme, launched in 1985, to eliminate Poliomyelitis from the world together with 5 other diseases. Ken reported considerable success in this direction, including immense support in recent years from “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”. Since 1978 over 75 countries have received substantial help