Rotary Club of Rochdale

Special Events Section

Thursday, 4th of July, 2019, Presidental Handover.

Rochdale Rotary Club’s President Keith Banks recently handed over to the new President, Ravi Sharma, in front of over 50 Rotarians and friends and gave a cheque for £3,500 to the Alzheimer's Society’s Danielle Freeman, Community Fundraiser for Greater Manchester.

Danielle said: “On behalf of the Alzheimer's Society I want to thank the club for the generous donation and I invite members of the club to train as Dementia Friends, helping sufferers with dementia and their carers to cope better.”

New Rotary President Ravi said: “It is a proud day for me to follow in the footsteps of so many fine, inspiring and hardworking past presidents. It will be a challenge, but am very much looking forward to my year in office.”

"I intend to make our club more visible to the Rochdale community and attract more new members and friends to help the club’s projects; the Rotary art gallery in Rochdale Exchange with resident artist Geoff Butterworth; a Simply Music event to help the lonely; a Seniors Out day at Castleton Bowling Club and a desalination project in collaboration with Leeds University.

"The club also supports Rochdale Foodbank, the Petrus Community Store and shoeboxes for vulnerable children in Eastern Europe.

"The annual cricket dinner is on 3 September starring ex-England spinner Graeme Swann who has recently been a Strictly Come Dancing contestant and has a good line in comedy. Net proceeds will continue to support youth cricket coaching.

"The Rotary Youth Speaks speechmaking competition goes from strength to strength and Falinge Park School will again host the event next January.

"The club also has close links with Rochdale Sixth Form College, Falinge Park High School and other Rochdale schools.

"My charities this year are the Buddybag Foundation for vulnerable children without a settled family life and The Women’s Chai Project, a support group for South Asian, black and minority ethnic women living in Oldham and Rochdale.

"Overseas charities the club supports are the Rotary Foundation for the End Polio Now campaign and Lending with Care which microfinances projects to help budding entrepreneurs.

"A number of fundraising events include another Classic Car show in 2020."

Finishing the evening on a musical note, singer Annie Valery sang some nostalgic songs from the Everly Brothers and other pop icons of the 50s onwards.


Another Grand Day Out, Thursday 23rd of May, 2019.

Organised by President Keith, we set off from the Masonic Buildings for Kendal. First, we went to the Quaker Tapestry Exhibition, an impressive collection of tapestries depicting the history and aims of Quakers over the years. After lunch at a conveniently located cafe, we continued a short way out of town to Blackwell, the home of the Holt family, brewers of note in the Manchester area! An impressive building, with superb views over the lake district. The weather was kind to us, and we all enjoyed the day.


Thursday 18th of October, 2018, 92nd Charter Night.

Toastmaster Neil Williams was in charge of procedings. President Keith Banks introduced his guests, including ADG John Shepley, Kit Wellens, President of Middleton Rotary Club and Helen Boulton, President of Rochdale Inner Wheel.

After our dinner, Rtn Ravi Sharma, Vice President of Rochdale Rotary Club, proposed a toast to Rotary International. ADG John Shepley responded. Rtn Kit Wellens, President of Middleton Rotary proposed a toast to Rochdale Rotary Club, and President Keith responded.

And so to the entertainment of the evening. In a departure from the more conventional musical interlude, President Keith introduced Pete Turner -  a magician...

Pete amazed the audience with a selection of tricks carried out on individual tables around the room. We are still puzzled!

Thanks to Ian & his team for an excellent meal and usual slick service.

Pp John C.




Friday 21st of November, 2014. 88th Charter Night.

President Bob Chadwick hosted an excellent evening at the Masonic Halls. His guests included the Mayor of Rochdale, Carol Wardle, her Mayoress, Beverley Place, DG Stuart Sawle and the President of Heywood Rotary Club, Edwin Partridge.

Toastmaster Rtn Neil Williams maintained order and recent member Ben Leach read the Charter very well. VP Irene proposed the toast to Rotary International and DG Stuart Sawle responded.

Rtn Chris Bryning was presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship award for his over 20 years as Club Service Convenor

Our entertainment for the evening was ably provided by Andy 'Big H' Hargreaves, who, amongst other tales, told us about his hilarious time on the quiz show 'The Weakest Link', and how he survived a heart attack!

An enjoyable evening.

PP John.


Thursday 24th of April. Claire Lees, Soprano.

This was a real treat! Local lass Claire, accompanied by Ewan Gilford on the piano, gave us an excellent concert with works by Rossini, Puccini, Schubert and a selection of numbers from popular musicals.

From her modest beginings with the Rochdale Music Society, where she not only sang, but also played the French Horn, she progressed via the Birmingham Conservatoire, where she gained a BMus (hons) to her present studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Her website has more information about this talented young lady, who will undoubtedly do well in her chosen career.

A word too about her accompaniest, Ewan Gilford, another gifted youngster, who complimented Claire perfectly today. He graduated from Leeds College of Music with a BA (hons) in Music Studies and then moved on to his Masters in Repetiteur Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. He is currently freelance, as an accompanist, often representing the RNCM. More about Ewan here:-

We all enjoyed and very much appreciated listening to two musicians who I am sure have a great career ahead of them.

PP John.


 Charter Night at Rochdale Rotary Club
On 15TH November 2013 over 80 Rotarians and guests at the Masonic Rooms, Richard Street, celebrated the founding of Rochdale Rotary Club in 1926 when the then President of Rotary International, Harry Rogers, signed the Charter.It has been traditional for the Charter document to be read out by the newest club member but in a break with tradition the oldest member 96 year old Rotarian Stan Fielding read it and in fine fashion.President Neil Helliwell commented that the last time Stan read the Charter at the club -1967 was the same year that Neil was born!
A further highlight of the evening was an after dinner speech by ex Rugby League referee Julia Lee-now a Rugby league administrator, Girl guide leader and Street Games Charity worker. Julia described her origins in Hull when she became keen on Hull KR and Rugby League from a young age.From the age of 11 she went to matches eventually taking up the game and even ran a women’s team in the London area. Her refereeing became more serious and professional when she was in Australia she got her refereeing ticket and earned the respect of male players.
Her career was described with amusing anecdotes of players and games she supervised ranging from her first with an under 11s game through to International refereeing when Great Britain women toured Australia and New Zealand
Her refereeing career was ended after an ankle injury sustained when a player ran into her on the field of play. She still has a keen interest in the game and pleased that there is much more interest in League rugby so long playing second fiddle to Rugby Union.
Over £500 was raised on the night towards the Rotary International Philippines disaster Shelter Box appeal allowing temporary accommodation and provisions to be sent to help homeless victims of the disaster.
See photos of Original Charter,top table with President Neil Helliwell and District Governer Ged Etherington and Julia Lee;also photo Of Rotarians Maureen Barker and 96 year old Stan Fielding.


International Committee
Indian Meal
24th October 2013

The International Committee held a fund raising event in aid of the President’s charities on 24th October. It took the form of a banquet-style meal at the Thamin Restaurant in Littleborough.
54 members and their guests attended and were treated to poppadoms, mixed starters, a choice of four curries with rice and a naan bread.
A free raffle took place with seven prizes kindly donated by members.
Hocky and his team at Thamin looked after us well and would be pleased to see us return. I think this feeling is echoed by those who were there too.
A total of £378 was raised on the night. Thanks to everyone for your support.


A Grand Day Out, Wednesday the 16th of October 2013.

Spending an afternoon & evening wandering around Rochdale might not sound an attractive way to spend seven hours, but Sue & I signed up for it anyway. Masterminded by Neil Williams, we met in the Town Hall at 14:00, glad to be out of the rain, and glad of the wet weather clothing, in anticipation of walking down to Touchstones later.

The afternoon commenced with a tour of the Town Hall, guided by Alan Williams. Despite having visited the place many times and had a short tour before, Alan went into much more detail, so much more informative. There is much to be learnt about the history of our town, especially in its Victorian heyday, when the textile industry boomed. It's all there, in the tiles on the floor, the magnificent stained glass windows, the decorated ceilings and many fine paintings. With the many questions, we were a bit later than intended for our afternoon tea - an excellent selection of sandwiches and jam & cream scones -  so we decided to forego the walk to Touchstones, as we would only have about 30 minutes there, and instead head for the Pioneers Museum.

Museum guide Clare Hirst soon had us organised, firstly with a film made in 1944, about how the Co-op movement began in 1844, and then with a well informed talk about the museum and the history of the original Pioneers. A preview of a new exhibition to be opened in a few days, later followed by another film about early advertising in the 50s and 60s - very amusing!

When we went back down to the ground floor, we were met by what at first sight was an undertaker. It was Colin Meredith, master of the Ghost Walk...

Then it was back outside again into the darkness. Thankfully the rain had stopped, but there was still a stiff breeze. Ideal conditions for a spooky stroll. Colin took us to some strange places, all only a few minutes walk from the Pioneers museum, and certainly not places one would go to alone at night! The stories were were of murder & mystery, enhanced by the gusty wind and surprisingly quiet streets - very few other people were out and about.

An hour or so later, we were relieved to arrive back at the Baum, looking forward to a hot meal and a drink, and the opportunity to talk about the strange goings on of earlier years around our town.

As a relative newcomer (1975) I learnt a lot in a short space of time today. A most enjoyable & interesting afternoon and evening. Thanks Neil - certainly a Grand Day Out!

Pp John.


District 1280/1050 Conference 2013, Llandudno.

This was our first joint Conference, with some 800 members and guests attending. I'm sure that this Conference will be well documented elsewhere, so I will just comment on the things that Sue & I particularly enjoyed.

Rochdale was well represented again this year, but not quite well enough to win the attendance award. Perhaps next year?

We stayed at the Empire Hotel, and our room was fine, but others found the lack of air conditioning troublesome with the warm autumn weather. Our journey was delayed, but we enjoyed an excellent lunch stop at an antique & craft centre near Caerwys, which more than made up for it.

We missed the afternoon session because of the traffic hold up, and after dinner, Sue & I relaxed in the bar for a while before electing for an early night. A wrong decision, as it turned out, as the evening entertainment at the Conference Centre was very good, we discovered at breakfast.

The first presentation on Saturday was by Bill Holroyd, about On Side North West. Since Rochdale seemed to be missing out on this, we decided to do our best to get things happening in our home town.

We decided to take advantage of the sunshine when the session ended, and headed for the pier. We enjoyed a stroll, and ice cream, and I found some photo opportunities.

Following another excellent dinner, we headed for the Conference Centre on foot, determind not to miss the entertainment this time. Jayne Curry proved to be a good vocalist, but by 10:30 our table had had enough, and we went for the next bus back to the hotel. (We must be getting old!!)

The Sunday morning was another fine day. We made our way to the Conference Centre for the final sessions. At the interval I purchased a couple of new ties, and we chatted with many friends around the exhibition halls. The Conference closed with ex Houghton Weavers front man Norman Prince, who was well up to his usual standard, finishing the weekend with a smile.

After lunch, we made our way home. Another memorable Conference and a first class couple of days of fellowship, made special by President Neil's thoughtful attention to detail. (The chocolates were great!) President elect Bob is going to have a hard act to follow.

PP John.


Thursday, 18th of July 2013. Annual Bowls Evening.

This year the weather was kind to us, warm, sunny and light winds. As last year, we met at the Castleton Bowling Club, and Organisers Elvet and Liz soon had a list of competitors, raring to go.
We also had some guests from Foreign Parts - Yaroslav Portukhay and Nick Lajsczuk from the Ukraine, and friend Phil Reed.

The competition went well, with Lis Kay retaining her Ladies Champion position and, after a close match, Keith Swift just beat Ralph Davidson to become the Men's Champion. Following the Meat & Potato pie supper, Yaroslav addressed the club with some help from Nick, and then New President Neil presented the awards.


Rotary members and friends have many sides to their lives and as well as supporting the regular President's Charities every year they are also involved in supporting local charities.Details of these may be found under the Bulletin and events pages.As an example Bob Chadwick has been involved with Hospital Radio broadcasts to the Pennine Trust wards and has done long Charity walks in support of NSPCC.See below for more detail. Our President Neil Helliwell has been helping to run the local Boys Brigade group for many years.Other members are Trustees for the Food Bank, Petrus, the Deaf society,Rochdale Ancient Parish Educational Trust,on board of Governers for Rochdale College ,Rochdale Connections Trust founder member,volunteering as a guide for Coop museum and helping with setting up Petrus community retailstore.

Every week at our club meetings members call for the 'Smile Box' to announce any special event in their lives-see below a recent marriage!


Life and times of Bob Chadwick , Rochdale Rotarian and Senior Engineer, Highways in Rochdale
He was born in 1961 and spent the first 19 years of his life overlooking Hollingworth Lake. His first job was at the Rochdalians Rugby Club, stocking the shelves of the bar, graduating onto washing up and then to serving first soft drinks to the mini-rugby kids, and then beer to their parents! At the same time he ran the discos at the weekends!
In October 1980, he became a volunteer at Birch Radio, the hospital radio station serving Birch Hill Hospital and continued my involvement ever since currently Vice Chairman and Station Manager of Roch Valley Radio, whose service covers Fairfield General Hospital, Bury, Rochdale Infirmary and Springhill Hospice. So many patients have been entertained over the years during their stressful illnesses and it continues to be a great up to date service for local hospitals.
A month after he became a volunteer he also began working for Rochdale Council in the Borough Engineers Department and was initially responsible for obtaining the location drawings for the utility company’s apparatus prior to the highway being excavated. He then had a spell on car park maintenance before moving into Traffic Management closing streets, introduced waiting restrictions, installed pelican crossings, ran the road marking contract, wrote Committee reports and answered letters by the score.
In 1992 onto the Highway Maintenance division where he introduced the noticing system for the New Road and Streetworks Act. He is now responsible for the team that keeps an eye on the utility company works. His team’s other priority is identifying and arranging for the repair of all the potholes and trips in the borough to keep the highway safe and prevent compensation claims(an unenviable task after last winter’s ice and snow damage). It’s down to balancing the available financial resources against the expectations of the public and Council Members; with so many repairs to be done and limited resources it’s not possible to make everything look as new but safety and comfort for road users is paramount.
Away from work as well as his hospital radio duties, he joins his wife, Merrilyn to help in charity work for the NSPCC. He has signed up to a Charity Challenge in October 2011 to take the alternative Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru in aid of the NSPCC. He has to raise £3,000 to undertake the trek, half of which pays for the trip, while the other half goes to the NSPCC. His aim to try and raise £5,000, and then the NSPCC gets at least the whole £3,000 and hopefully more. Merrilyn is watching how he gets on so please donate generously!See event below to help him on his way.
He is looking forward to helping Rotary in its many projects bringing new team-working and communication skills into the club.Recently made leader of Rotary Shelter and Life Box initiative sending lifesaving provisions to commnities affected by natural disasters.Also did 3 peaks walk with 3 other members helping to raise over £400 for club Charities.A trip to Australia included a visit to Sydney Cove Rotary club for online donations

 Bob’s Trek to Machu Picchu
In Aid of the NSPCC 

Soul Night to raise funds for his trek on Friday 8th October 2010 passed the £1,200 mark. Future events -27th November  running Teddy Tombola at the Littleborough Xmas lights switch-on event.
Towards the end of January 2011 a Race Night was held with more money raised

After 32 hour flight and climbing 15000 ft to Machu Picchu £5,800 made for the NSPCC

Well done Bob!


On Saturday the 18th  May, Rotary Friend Diana Cannell became Mrs Diana Lynham. The ceremony took place at the Lowry on Salford Quays. Her husband Chris is a journalist.


The Lowry proved to be an excellent venue. The staff, the Wedding Breakfast and the night views from Compass Room couldn't be faulted.


PP John - proud Dad!



Contact Information

Rotary Club of Rochdale

Masonic Buildings
Richard Street
OL11 1DU

Tel: 01706 767409

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