In 1977 a group of men gathered to support local communities and charities. Now 40 years on, The Rotary Club of Preston Amounderness is still growing strong and it even welcomed its first woman – Jeanette Raymer.
The group, which meets on Monday evenings for dinner at Broughton Park Marriott, raises more than £14,000 for charity every year.
Supporting both local community, regional and selective international causes, Preston Amounderness brings together like-minded individuals who want to give a little time and effort and put something back into society.
Jeanette, 69, of Fulwood, says: “I moved back to Preston two years ago from Northamptonshire following the death of my husband, Martin.
“I had family and friends in the area and decided to come back. I realised I had to reform my life and get going again.
“I was short on conversation and wanted to do something useful in the community so I looked for a group to join.
“The Marriott, where Preston Amounderness meets, is very close to where I live, compared with other groups I looked at.
“I had met a couple of members at a Christmas collection. I spoke to them about joining and I became a member.
“I was not aware I was the only woman but I knew it was originally a male-orientated organisation.
“There was a moment of doubt as I knew I would be the only woman.
“I went with a neighbour but she decided not to join. I very nearly joined, but I threw caution to the wind and I am glad I did. I believe there is another woman about to join.
“I feel really welcome and I may become part of the Rotary council to lead the youth team. I also read the talking newspaper.
“My husband was a great conversationalist and I miss that.
“But with the group I get a chance for great discussions and I am meeting people who share the same interests as me. Joining has been a really positive experience.”
President John Molyneux says: “I am very passionate about the different causes the club is involved with.
“The feel-good factor we all get from our contributions to Rotary is quite palpable.
“When we see how our fund-raising efforts result in vital equipment and services being provided to needy local and regional causes such as Baby Beat, Blood Bikes and Rainbow House to name but a few, we simply feel great about it.
“We have many activities going on and members get involved to a lesser or greater degree depending on their own circumstances.
“We always say the more you put in, the more you get out.
“We actively encourage new members to join, after all it’s the lifeblood of the club.
“We’re always looking to attract new members and we’re so please we now have a lady member as it’s been an uphill struggle to achieve this.”
At the age of 47, David Gill is the youngest member of the group.
He adds: “Although I live in Wirral, I grew up in Broughton and so I commute to the club, as I felt it was important to be part of the Rotary where I was brought up.
“I knew quite a few members of the club because of my parents’ friends and so it felt natural to join.
“It is a great opportunity to do charity work within an established organisation.
“We have done some great work and we are particularly proud of our international campaign to eradicate polio.
“We are trying to boost our membership numbers. People assume it is a huge commitment and you have to give up a lot of time.
“But that is not the case. I don’t put a huge amount of time in but I am a very valued member.”