Dewsbury Rotary Club plants 100 trees as part of centenary celebrations

Not many local clubs and organisations can claim to be still going after a hundred years, but one that can is Dewsbury Rotary Club.

By Margaret Watson
Monday, 27th June 2022, 6:00 am

This year the club celebrates its centenary and has planted one hundred trees on land between Wakefield Road and Owl Lane to mark the occasion.

The club is also compiling an Honours Board bearing the names of people from Dewsbury who have brought honour to the town.

It will be hung in Dewsbury Town Hall and will include the names of other celebrated men and women who have lived and worked here.

Tree planting to mark the centenary of Dewsbury Rotary Club at Shaw Cross

A centenary dinner is also being held next month at which the guest speaker will be channel swimmer Eileen Fenton MBE.

Miss Fenton, who was the first woman home in a historic cross channel swim in 1950, is an honorary member of the club.

The club meets on Monday evenings at the Heath Cottage Hotel, Wakefield Road, where members share a meal, have a guest speaker and discuss Rotary business.

Rotary’s motto is “Service before Self”, which members aim to do in all spheres of life.

Rotary members planted 100 trees as part of the club's centenary celebrations

The Dewsbury club has a fine history of service not only in the local community but also nationally and internationally.

It tries to give help wherever it can throughout the world and also to assist whatever charity or worthy cause reaches out for its help.

During Remembrance Week members can be seen distributing poppies on behalf of the Royal British Legion and taking collecting tins to shops, pubs and businesses throughout the town.

Although the first Rotary club was formed in America in 1905 by a Chicago lawyer, Paul Harris, the movement was soon to spread to Britain.

Dr Thimme Gowda, president of Dewsbury Rotary Club

Eventually it spread to nearly every country in the world and became known as Rotary International.

And, whatever it has done to make the world a better place, you can be sure Dewsbury Rotary Club will have played its part.

A school in Sri Lanka which was destroyed during a tsunami was just one of many disaster areas the Dewsbury Club was quick to help.

It raised £10,000 to help build a new one and named one of the classrooms “Dewsbury”.

Nearer home, members have helped numerous worthy causes and charities, and formed new ones, like the Dewsbury YMCA club and the League of Friendship for the disabled.

They also raised thousands of pounds towards the building of two of the town’s first hospitals.

The Rotary Club of Dewsbury was founded in 1922, with the inaugural meeting being held in Dewsbury Town Hall.

It was men’s club because in those days most businesses and professions were run by men, but this would change and women would eventually be welcomed.

The club arranged many money-raising events for local charities; the first was a variety concert at the old Theatre Royal in Dewsbury which raised £100 for the old Dewsbury General Infirmary, a considerable sum in those days.

The first outdoor event was in 1923 when a garden party was held at the home of Rotarian Harold Fowler in Hanging Heaton, attended by 40 disabled children.

After the Dewsbury club was formed, it sponsored other clubs in the district and they became its “daughter” clubs.

These clubs included Heckmondwike and District in 1931, Mirfield in 1939, Batley in 1946, Ossett in 1947 and Normanton in 1942.

The club also formed the Inner Wheel, for the wives of Rotarians, and in 1934 the Round Table for young men who perhaps would one day become Rotarians, which many did.