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'Sad loss' to town as lack of members sees rotary club fold

PUBLISHED: 13:59 26 June 2019

Janet and John Money with Richard Turner (centre) the president of Dereham Rotary Club. Photo: Dereham Rotary Club

Janet and John Money with Richard Turner (centre) the president of Dereham Rotary Club. Photo: Dereham Rotary Club

Dereham Rotary Club

A branch of an international charity organisation in a mid Norfolk town is closing down due to a lack of membership after almost three quarters of a century in the community.

Richard Turner, left, from Westgarth Turner Accountants and Business Consultants in Dereham, with teachers from the Fred Nicholson School. Photo: ArchantRichard Turner, left, from Westgarth Turner Accountants and Business Consultants in Dereham, with teachers from the Fred Nicholson School. Photo: Archant

Dereham Rotary Club (DRC) will fold at the end of June after 73 years of service to the town.

Club committee member John Gillespie said: "Sadly the club is closing down at the end of this month after 73 years of service to the community, nationally and internationally."

He added: "We are not attracting new members. I think the days of nine to five work have gone, and it is not easy to attract individuals to join a voluntary organisation.

"This has been going on for two years. We have tried membership drives and it is just not working.

Chairman of Dereham Round Table Richard Turner hands over the mobility scooter to residents at Doris Barnes Court. Photo: Graham CorneyChairman of Dereham Round Table Richard Turner hands over the mobility scooter to residents at Doris Barnes Court. Photo: Graham Corney

"New membership comes from existing membership and there's not enough."

The mayor of Dereham, Linda Monument, described the news as a "sad loss" and said: "On behalf of the town I'd like to express my gratitude to those members who have given service in the past."

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She added: "I think it is a sad loss for the area. Rotary has been providing help and sometimes funding for activities for a very long time in the town.

"It will be sadly missed. It's unfortunate that, like many other clubs, it's not got as many young, new members any more. There are not enough to keep it going.

"Community service makes a huge difference in a town."

The club supported charity initiatives including funding prizes at two high schools and the sixth form college, planting purple crocus bulbs at Dereham Windmill, having a Christmas card competition, raising money for the Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal, assisting Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service's Crucial Crew project and holding a tractor rally.

The international rotary movement was founded in 1905, by a Chicago lawyer, Paul Harris.

The movement's aim is to bring together business leaders from around the world and offer service to others, with more than 1.2m individual Rotarians worldwide.

The club recently made members John and Janet Money Paul Harris Fellows, for all their work over the years, as unsung heroes for Dereham Cancer Care.

The club also presented a cheque for £260 from a raffle and quiz evening to the charity.

- Are you involved with a charity or organisation in Dereham? Email your story to DFT.News@archant.co.uk

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