Rotary club has been helping East Durham community for 60 years

The Mail's Tracy Walker meets Easington and Peterlee Rotary Club president Joe Sherrington
The Mail's Tracy Walker meets Easington and Peterlee Rotary Club president Joe Sherrington

THE Rotary club is a world-wide movement of people who use their skills to help others less fortunate than themselves.

Easington and Peterlee Rotary club has helped countless causes, both local and global, since it was formed more than 60 years ago.

TRACY WALKER met some of the members and found out more.

IT’S not every day that this single girl gets invited out of an evening for some good company with 10 men.

Granted, some of those I went to met were a good 50 years my senior, but what was evident was they were all true gentlemen.

Maybe that’s why they joined Easington and Peterlee Rotary Club, a charitable organisation that was formed in 1953 – their caring nature.

It’s a branch of the world-wide Rotary International movement which aims to make a positive change to people’s lives.

A major initiative the Rotary members have been involved in is helping to eradicate 90 per cent of polio world-wide, with local fundraising contributing.

But the Easington and Peterlee Club also does a lot of good work much closer to home.

Through its raffle pack scheme, the local club has helped dozens of good causes by spending £1,000 a year on raffle prizes so local charities can profit by selling raffle tickets.

Among those who have benefitted include Haswell & District Mencap, the Hospital of God at Greatham, Horden Youth and Community Centre, St Mary’s Church in Horden and the 2nd Peterlee Scouts.

Club president Joe Sherrington said: “We usually raise over £5,000 for charities this way.

“For a small club we do very well raising money for good causes.”

Through its Rotakids scheme it works with local schools to help children become better citizens, and has donated scores of Dictionaries 4 Life to primary schools in East Durham, including Thornley Primary, Our Lady of Lourdes in Shotton Colliery and Blackhall Colliery Primary School.

The Rotary has 33,000 clubs in 200 countries and its motto is “service before self”.Looking round the table, at the club’s meeting place, the Hardwicke Hall Manor Hotel, near Hesleden, it’s like a who’s who of East Durham business heads of yesteryear, with some still trading today.

These include Clive Booth, a solicitor with offices in Horden, Eric Smith, a former franchise manager for Wimpey, accountant Brian Coverdale, who is from Hartlepool but has a business in Peterlee, Wilf Atherton, a retired coal board foreman and president Joe, a former technical director at Yuills in Hartlepool.

Clive, who has been a member since the mid-80s, said: “We get out of it what we put into it.”

There are only 14 members, with a group of 10 who regularly make it along to weekly meetings.

Member John Pearce is 80 years old, and Rotarian Finley Harrison was still involved with the club until he passed away three years ago, aged 94.

It is agreed that new blood is needed to help continue the group’s good work.

It is not just a club for the older generation or just for men, as can be commonly misconceived – anyone can join the Rotary.

Last Christmas, the remembrance tree at Peterlee’s Castle Dene shopping centre raised £1,200 and the Santa sleigh that travels round East Durham streets raised £2,046.

“We are grateful to the people of the area who have supported us,” said Joe.

“But if we had the numbers we would do more.”

Anyone wanting to find out more about joining the club can call Joe Sherrington on (0191) 5862847.