The History of
Whitchurch Rotary Club
1938 - 2008
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Visitors Welcome

We meet in the Dodington Lodge Hotel every 1st & 3rd Tuesday evening at 6:30pm for Dinner, every 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 12:45pm for lunch, and if there's a 5th Tuesday, we meet at 7:00am for Breakfast. Visitors are welcome.

The History of Whitchurch Rotary Club

The Founding | Wartime | After 1945 | The 21st Century | Club Organisation


The Founding of the Rotary Club of Whitchurch

In Autumn 1937, with only 457 Rotary clubs worldwide, the district extension officer from Chester, District 6 with 4 English districts, North, South, East and West - Wales & Scotland possibly 6 and 7, contacted JD Patrick, Manager of the local National Westminster Bank and Albert G Eccleston, solicitor in the town of his birth and Sam Eccleston's uncle, about the possibilities of forming a Rotary club. A favourable response saw a luncheon at The Swan Hotel in November, 1937, - now the site of Ethel Austin. The lunch price was 2 shillings and sixpence, with the first officially recorded attendance meeting in January 1938 and first AGM in June 1938 - a remarkably speedy operation attracting 18 founder members.
The club's first charter was presented on 6 December 1938 at an impressive ceremony in the Old Town Hall, (burnt down in December 1941). Whitchurch became club no 477 in RIBI (Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland). RIBI in November 2008, comprises 1837 clubs with 56,312 members. The charter dinner was attended by 80 people with entertainment provided by Mr Harold Bellis (father of P. Presdt. John Bellis), Mr Dennis Douglas and Rotarian RES Tuckey - the cost was 7s. 6d. per head, and produced a 2s 6d deficit ! In 1963 Whitchurch were in Dist 106, in 1972 in the new Dist 121, now called 1210 comprising 57 clubs with 1761 members. AG Eccleston was founder president until his death in 1940, being succeeded by RES Tuckey, a veterinary surgeon in the town. Founder secretary was Billy Jones, Commercial Union Assurance and first treasurer the aforementioned JD Patrick. Other founder members : SHL Abbott, G Bristow, RJ Eccleston, RP Edwards, JK Gambrell, JP Lawson, R Manley, LJ Medway, EJR Pimlott, WH Smith, E South, RP Stevens, CW Thomas, Rev. T Thompson.
Weekly Meetings
Weekly meetings were held on Wednesdays in the Swan Hotel, changing to Tuesdays in 1940, evening meetings regularised from 1976, and since 1999 mixed luncheon and evenings, with breakfast on fifth Tuesdays !. Weekly meetings promote acquaintance, friendship and fellowship and through this Rotarians find the inspiration and fuel the ideas to serve the community. Any guest can attend meetings.