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Rotary Club has raised £1m in 50-year history
Buy this photo » Back Ian Craig and Keith Mansell, front, Ian Campbell and David Godding looking through old pictures. OX57459 Antony Moore
A MILLION thanks is Wantage Rotarians’ message to townsfolk as they prepare to celebrate their 50th birthday.
Since its launch in 1963, £1m has been raised by the town’s Rotary Club for a variety of good causes, local and international.
From raising money for the John Radcliffe Hospital’s new heart monitor to helping fund the global campaign to eradicate polio, members have always been there to help.
Founder member Ian Campbell, 86, said: “We have done a fantastic job, raised money for a lot of local causes, and done a tremendous amount of good.”
When he was invited to the first meeting on February 22, 1963, Mr Campbell was new to the town, having moved from Essex the year before.
He had recently set up his optician’s business, and was asked to join the new society along with the manager of Barclay’s Bank, the town clerk, and the owner of Penney’s menswear.
He said: “Wantage has changed a lot over the years, but the Rotary Club still helps good causes and raises money for worthy projects.”
Mr Campbell was club president in 1968. He took over from Dinnis Clegg, who died of a heart problem in the John Radcliffe.
In his memory, the club ran its first appeal to buy the hospital a heart monitor machine, and the appeal was so successful it raised £1,200 – enough to buy two.
Then in 1974 the club raised £8,500 to install a lift in Wantage Hospital.
Between 1981 and 1986 the club organised the Wantage Spring Feast, which also raised money for charity, and in 1987 the club held its first charity golf day, which has run every year since and raised more than £150,000 for various good causes.
In 1988 members created the Wantage Rotaract Club, for people aged 18 to 28 to help in community projects.
David Godding, 70, joined the club 30 years ago.
He said: “There is a fellowship in Rotary that I have truly enjoyed, and it is a pleasure to put a bit back into the community.
“But it is the combination of those two elements that makes the club thrive.
“Its support and contributions for the wider public in Wantage has always been fantastic, and it will be a pleasure to be able to celebrate in their company.”
For the past year the club’s 40 members have been preparing for their birthday party tonight at the Wantage Civic Hall.
Special guests will include members from Rotary Clubs in Holland and Germany that are linked with Wantage, as well as representatives from other Rotary Clubs in the UK, and local people who have helped the club in the past.