Matthew Brown has formerly taken over the reins of The Rotary Club of Comber. At a recent meeting, Matthew accepted the responsibility after retiring President Evelyn Dermott had given a resume of a very successful year.

Evelyn first referred to the disappointment that the mental health venture with the Samaritans did not attract many members of the wider public, but it was still a fascinating and valuable experience for those who attended the event in Andrews Memorial Hall.

The annual Remembrance Tree in Newtownards in conjunction with Tescos was a huge success. £5,000 was raised, and the charities benefiting were the Cancer Fund for Children, Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust, Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Polio Eradication, a water project in Kenya, an international micro finance loans project and Tesco’s named charities.

She also reported the continuing success and province-wide acknowledgement of the Northern Ireland Young Musician competition. The 2017 event was well supported, and now, with its dedicated website, its future is secure.

Evelyn then highlighted the environmental project which had Rotarians working with primary and secondary schools, Ulster Wild Life Trust and local suppliers to make bird nest boxes, barn owl boxes, red squirrel boxes, hedgehog boxes and bug hotels. The aim was not only for the benefit of wildlife but for the education of our children.

The Club also ran Young Leader, Young Writer and Young Enterprize projects during the year, as well as mock interviews for imminent school leavers in Comber, Saintfield and Downpatrick.

In May, the club helped to organise a unique event in Comber Square. Together with the Comber branch of the British Legion and the Sea Cadets, a large crowd was hugely entertained by the Band of HM Royal Marines (Scotland). Net proceeds of ca. £500 were divided among The British Legion, The Sea Cadets and Rotary charities.

The Club also ran a highly successful coffee morning with plant sales for Polio Eradication and The Rotary Foundation - the event raised £1,000. The Rotary Foundation in its 100 years has spent over £2¼ million on life changing, sustainable projects around the world. Rotary’s efforts in conjunction with the World Health Organisation and UNICEF have reduced new cases of polio from over 350,000 in 1988 to just 16 new cases last year.

In closing, Evelyn reported that it was not all work, work, work as we were entertained, informed and educated by the many excellent speakers during the year.

Incoming President Matthew considered his appointment a real privilege to lead the Rotary Club of Comber for the coming year, adding that Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self”, is what we will continue to do. In addition to the various projects, he hoped to work on bringing a Rotary presence back to Newtownards.

Story by: JD


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