Malcolm Hands Over to Annie as New President of Rotary Club

The Rotary Club of Henley Bridge celebrated its Handover meeting on Wednesday, 17 June with a Zoom Cocktail Party. The Current President, Malcolm Leonard handed over to the incoming President, Annie Lathaen. The Cocktail Party was a lively affair with an almost incredible sleight of hand, when Malcolm handed over the chain of office to Annie.  A short resume of the highlights of Malcolm’s Presidency took place.

Elected in July 2019 one of Malcolm’s first duties was to take part in a competition bowls match with the other Henley Club, at the Henley Bowls Club on Mill Meadows.  The Henley Club won but it was a close thing! This was followed in August with a Putting Competition held at Badgemore Golf Club, when it was the turn of the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge to win.

The Half Marathon and 10k races were held on 13 October when the races were jointly managed by both Henley Rotary Clubs. The weather was awful, it rained overnight and during the race making it the wettest weather the races have ever been run in.  However, the day was a great success making enough surplus to buy a motor bike for  a charity which provides a life saving service by delivering blood supplies, milk for premature babies and any patient related item required between hospitals. The Charity known as Blood Bikes has recently won The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service which is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK, to recognise outstanding work done in their communities.

In December the Club held its annual Carol’s Night with the Henley Carol singers giving a rousing performance of carol’s old and new.  The Henley Carol Singers chosen charity was See Saw, who provide grief support for children and young people in Oxfordshire. We presented a cheque to Tony Hobbs for The RNLI for £1000.00, this donation also came from the surpluses of the Half Marathon and 10k.

The Club has had a very interesting and diverse range of speakers throughout the year including; Phil Stride the Strategic Director of Thames Tideway, a  little known billion pound project which will end in a 25km tunnel under the tidal Thames, which will collect rainwater and sewage saving it from being pumped into the Thames. Mike Baker gave interesting insight into Cyber Crime,  John Dunsterville talked about and played rock and roll music and Malcolm Nelson described some of the strange and interesting things seen in the life of a front line Custom’s Officer.

The Rotary Club of Henley Bridge hosted the Founder’s Night celebrations commemorating the start of the Rotary movement in 1905 . The formal dinner was held at Badgemore Golf Club with guest speaker Michael Kimber, a former Master of The Worshipful Company of Coachmakers. The Company who now support the automotive and aerospace industries award apprenticeships and offer support to a range of interesting engineering projects.

Unfortunately, Malcolm’s year was interrupted by the coronavirus, however, this has led to a rethinking of how meetings are held and offered more opportunities for giving. The Rotary Club of Henley Bridge now hold their meetings on Zoom and have perfected the art of listening and not interrupting  speakers. The Club has now donated part of its monthly dinner money to the local food bank run by NOMAD Youth and Community Project. The Club have donated £1540.00 plus £308.00 gift aid, making a total of £1848.00.

The final act of Malcolm’s Presidency was hosting the Handover meeting. The Rotary Club of Henley Bridge member’s were delighted to welcome Judith Diment, MBE to speak at their Handover Cocktail meeting. Judith is the UK national advocacy advisor for Rotary International’s Polio Committee. Judith talked about the affect the Corona Virus is having on the Polio eradication programme. With social distancing it is impossible to keep the immunisation programme going as the immunisation process requires personal contact, however, the minute that the ban on personal contact is lifted, Rotary teams will be ready to renew the immunisation programme. The Club was delighted to learn that Nigeria has been certified Polio free and with that, the whole of the African continent. Peter Wilkinson, Chair of the International Committee thanked Judith for her short, but very interesting talk.

Annie Lathaen then took up the chain of office and thanked the Club for electing her President for the year 2020/21. Annie said that she thought her year would be a challenge from the beginning given the coronavirus, but she was looking forward to supporting the Club with all of their endeavours.

If anyone would like to come to any of the Club’s zoom talks, please feel welcome to contact Annie on 07769687326. The first speaker meeting of the new year will be Sue Prior talking about the work of the Foodbank on Wednesday, 22 July – 7.30pm.