Hundreds attend Rotary charity's centenary celebration service

The choir of children from three primary schools including Chatburn CE Primary School at the Rotary centenary celebrations at Blackburn Cathedral.
The choir of children from three primary schools including Chatburn CE Primary School at the Rotary centenary celebrations at Blackburn Cathedral.

Local pupils joined Rotarians from across the county at a service to celebrate 100 years of the Rotary Foundation.

The children from Chatburn CE Primary School sang in the choir at the exhibition and interdenominational celebration service held at Blackburn Cathedral on Saturday for the centenary celebrations of the Rotary's own and only charity.

Cumbrian Rotarian Roger Franks, who built the model of an iron lung, with Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans.

Cumbrian Rotarian Roger Franks, who built the model of an iron lung, with Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans.

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans, who is a member of Clitheroe Rotary Club and has been a Rotarian for more than 30 years, and the deputy mayor of Clitheroe Coun. Pam Dowson were also at the event.

Following the service, the children took part in a procession with symbols and boards representing Rotary’s Six Areas of Focus.

Over the last 100 years, the Rotary Foundation has spent more than $3 billion on humanitarian programmes world-wide. This includes spearheading the movement to eradicate polio across the world, as well as facilitating projects locally and internationally.

Rotary GBI president, Eve Conway said: “It is great to be at this magnificent cathedral in Blackburn to celebrate the centenary of Rotary Foundation – 100 years of our Rotary charity doing good in the world with our countless projects including our campaign to rid the world of polio and at a time when we are so close to achieving Rotary’s goal of a polio free world. It is wonderful that the community has come together here to make this a special occasion.”

Referring to the End Polio Now campaign. Peter Offer, Rotary International Director, said: “When we started the campaign to raise money to inoculate the world’s children we did not realise that the money raised was only enough for one year and that the inoculation had to be done every year until the world was polio free. That was over 30 years ago and there are now only three countries with polio. Just a few days ago, Rotary committed to raising a further £50million each year for the next three years which will be matched by the Bill Gates Foundation. With that and other help we will achieve our goal – that magic zero polio.”

At the centenary exhibition, a model of an iron lung built by a Cumbrian Rotarian, Roger Franks, was on display to educate, raise awareness and support for End Polio Now campaign. Roger explained that many people had never heard of polio and he built the model as it was important that people did understand the devastating effects of the illness.

Anyone interested in joining Rotary should contact their local club. Rotary GBI have a club finder on their web site at https://www.rotarygbi.org/club-finder/