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.

Presidents of Whitchurch Rotary Club


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President 1981/82
Karl Jennings

Karl's life story is remarkable. He was born in Vienna in 1913 and he met his future wife Edith when they became childhood sweethearts at the same school. He went on to study law at university - but in 1938 the Nazis invaded Austria.
Karl still had 18 months of his legal studies to complete so he stayed on despite the difficult and dangerous political climate although Edith fled to Britain. In 1939, Karl decided he had to escape, and as a Jewish refugee did so to the UK where he decided to follow a career in agriculture. His parents decided to stay behind... and became victims of the Nazis, probably in Auschwitz, while Edith's parents got away to Shanghai and returned to Vienna after the war. In June 1939, Karl and Edith married. Karl got a lucky break when he became a beneficiary of chocolate magnate George Cadbury, a member of the Society of Friends, who sponsored him through Avoncroft College at Bromsgrove where he achieved an agricultural diploma.
In 1941, Karl secured employment with Joe Johnson, a potato merchant and fruit importer at Ashfield Hall in Neston on the Wirral, where he established a 20-acre market garden.
The enterprise grew to 650 acres, including 300 acres of Burton Marshes which were reclaimed with the co-operation of the War Agricultural Committee. Karl remained in Neston for 27 years and it was there that he first became involved with the NFU, becoming the Wirral branch chairman. 1971 he was elected chairman of the Cheshire County branch. In 1967, Karl went into partnership with his son Michael and they became tenants of two adjoining dairy farms at Oldcastle near Malpas totalling 320acres.
In 1977 he received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal for services to agriculture. He was a governor at Reaseheath Agricultural College for 10 years from 1983 and vice-chairman for the latter part of his time on the committee.
Karl and Edith became naturalised British citizens and he was always deeply grateful for the country which offered them refuge, help and friendliness. A violin player, he loved classical music and played with the Chester Symphony Orchestra for a number of years, and also with his Rotarian friend Bill Thickett.

He died 28/10/2000. His wife was president of Inner Wheel 1973/75