On the 30th June 1964, the Rotary Club of Cardiff – City of Llandaff, was presented with its Charter of Membership in Rotary International.
An important component of any club is its venue and its location within the community that it serves. During the first year of its existence, the Club was based at the Llandaff Hotel (now Churchills), which was at the heart of the community. After one year, the Club moved to the Plymouth Arms Hotel in St. Fagans, then to Ellincliffe Hotel in Cathedral Road, before eventually returning to the Fairwater Conservative Club, which was its base from 1989 to 2010. In March 2010, the Club returned to Churchills Hotel – the place of its birth.
Equally important to any Club is its membership and here records show an ever-changing picture with 23 founder members, a membership that reached 38 in the 1990s before returning to 22 members in the current Rotary year.
Over the fifty years of its existence, the Club has had within its membership many individuals who achieved chief executive status in their particular professional careers. Some members worthy of mention include David Humphries, who became Chief Abritrator for the Royal Institute of Architects, Eamond O’Leary, who became Chief President of the Concrete Society and chairman of the charity Tenovus, while Ken Fickling, Bryn Calvin Thomas and Richard Lawrence also became prominent members of that charity.
Other past members of the Club who have achieved appointments of some prominence include Wyn Roberts, who became Minister of State at the Welsh Office and was awarded a Peerage, and Michael Roberts, who also achieved Ministerial Status at the Welsh Office. Mervyn Jones became Chairman of Wales Gas, Ray Jarrett became Head of the Order of St. John Wales, Richard Lawrence was President of the Cardiff Chamber of Trade in 1976, while John Marsden served as chairman of the Welsh Kidney Patients Association between 2001 and 2005.
The Club has also enriched its membership through the election of honorary members, which include the Bishop of Llandaff and Sir Norman Lloyd-Edwards, recently retired Lord Lieutenant for South Glamorgan.
As is the case with many organisation, there are some members who, through making outstanding contributions as individuals, and as members of the Club, are identified as worthy of recognition. Such recognition results in the Rotarian being awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship – one of the highest awards of Rotary International. Over the last fifty years, twelve members have been awarded this fellowship.
The work of a Rotary Club can be grouped under four headings: Organised Events, Support of Local Charities, the Encouragement of Young People and Making a World of Difference.
In terms of organised events over the years, the Club can be proud of an extensive list including the Charistmas Parcel Project, when over a hundred parcels are distributed to the needy of the local community; the Annual Carol Service at Llandaff Cathedral when the other seven Rotary Clubs in Cardiff, together with the local community, join together to celebrate the festive season; the International Evening when selected overseas students studying at Cardiff’s Universities are invited to a black tie/National costume dinner; the Junior Sports Day, when in association with Cardiff’s Sports Council, pupils from local primary schools are invited to football and netball competitions; the Young Musician Competition, Youth Speaks Competition and Young Photographer Competition, all of which are open to secondary school pupils and youth organisations; and the Youth Leadership Awards, where the Club sponsors young people to attend organised residential weekends in the Brecon Beacons.
In addition, the Club organises a series of Speaker Evenings covering a range of topics. Such guest speakers have included many distinguished persons including George Thomas, at that time Secretary of State for Wales and later Speaker of the House of Commons, Lord Gordon Parry – chairman of the Wales Tourist Board, Wyn Clavin of pantomime fame, Roy Noble OBE of the BBC, and Roy Thomas of the Kidney Wales Foundation.
Over the years, the average annual contribution to charities supported by the Club is of the order of £2,500. Charities that have benefited include Tenovus Cancer Research, Kidney Wales Foundation, Leukaemia Research, Stroke Association, Holm Tower Hospice, Heart Foundation, University of Wales Children’s Hospital, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neuron Research, Cheshire Homes, RNLI, Bobath Cymru, The British Diabetic Association, the King George’s Fund for Sailors and ChildLine.
International projects that have gained Club support over the years include the Katagata Water Scheme, the Eradication of Polio Campaign, Children of Chernobyl, the ShoeBox scheme (to ease the effects of natural disasters), Doctor Bank (which sponsors doctors serving overseas) and Convoy of Hope to Croatia. The most recent example of such support was a donation of £1,000 in aid of the 2013 Philippine disaster.
In addition, over the years, the Club has hosted numerous Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars, who through their choice of studies, are based in one of Cardiff’s Universities.
The Club itself has also engaged in international exchange, having been involved in fourteen years of annual exchange visits with the German Rotary Club of Siegen Schloss.
For the Club’s outstanding participation in the Four Avenues of Service, it was awarded a Rotary International Presidential Citation in 1997 and 1998, for showing that ‘Rotary Cares – for the Community, for the World and for its People.’
Based on its contribution to individuals, organisations both local, national and international over the last fifty years, it is fitting that the Club should be congratulated on its work and wished well for the future – and to the next fifty years which will commence on the 1st July 2014.
Rotarian Dr John Marsden PHF
President Elect – Rotary Club of Cardiff – City of Llandaff