‘Most of my life has involved fundraising’ – meeting Baldock Rotary’s new president

Paul Redwood succeeds outgoing president Prue Dixon (left). Picture: Baldock Rotary

Paul Redwood succeeds outgoing president Prue Dixon (left). Picture: Baldock Rotary - Credit: Archant

On Wednesday, Baldock Rotary Club welcomed Paul Redwood into office as its new president for 2020/2021, succeeding outgoing Prue Dixon. In a wide-ranging interview, Paul discusses his life and work with the Baldock Rotary.

• What is a rotary and what does it do?

“Rotary is one of the world’s largest and most successful global membership and humanitarian service organisations, with 1.2 million members and 35,000 clubs in over 200 countries.

“We have a unique position of being rooted within our own communities, but with a global outlook, ready to tackle challenges at home and abroad.

“We are people of action ready to turn our ideas into lasting change by creating opportunities supporting those who need it most and transforming their lives.”

• When and why did you join Rotary?

“I joined Baldock Rotary Club in April 2011, so nine years ago. Most of my life I have been involved with fundraising for charities. I was a founder trustee and a treasurer of AYME (Association of Young People with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, a life-altering neurological illness) – this was important to me as it affected my family.

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“AYME helped a huge number of children to deal with ME – and after twenty years it merged into ‘Action for M.E.’

“Prior to joining rotary, I was a trustee and company secretary on the Stotfold Mill restoration team for eight years. The mill had burnt down and was being restored and opened to the public.

“One of the mill trustees started talking to me about rotary and he invited me along to a meeting – I never looked back.”

• How have you benefitted as a person from being a rotary member?

“Rotary has many facets and it takes a bit of time to understand just how this organisation works. I have been bringing a lot of what I learnt through my working days and I have also drawn from the various projects I have been involved with.

“When I was a new member, I really didn’t know my around, but the other members were very helpful. I have a much wider understanding about communities, their needs at local, national and international levels and how we can help.”

• What do you enjoy about being a member of rotary?

“The satisfaction of supporting others who need our help. Personally, it is particularly pleasing to be part of something that has the ability to help worthy causes, of which there are so many.

“To be able to support charities that provide care and support, or assist local community projects, is tremendously satisfying and rewarding. Be it by way of making donations or by providing equipment, such as defibrillators, rotary can and does make a difference in so many ways.

“I also very much enjoy the fellowship of the other members and have made many lasting friendships. Over the years in rotary I have met members from many other clubs in our district, in Beds, Bucks and Herts, attending annual conferences where Rotarians from all over the UK turn out and enjoy themselves with partners.”

• What responsibilities do you have?

“As well as president this year, I am also the membership secretary. We have our current club in Baldock that meets at lunchtime but we are looking for people of all ages to join us and possibly form a new club.

“This might cater for people unable to meet at lunchtime and who want to meet as a breakfast club, or alternately perhaps in the evening.”

• Can anyone become a rotary member, and how can they join?

“Yes, they can! Anyone is welcome to join. Please give me a call, or send me an email, my details are below. You will be asked to come and have a chat and then if you want to go further you will be invited to a club meeting.

• How is rotary dealing with the coronavirus epidemic?

“Like all community activities our face-to-face meetings are currently suspended, so we are holding our weekly meetings by video conferencing. This is different for us but nevertheless it enables our members to stay in touch with each other, which is an important part of rotary fellowship.

“More importantly our fundraising activities have also been suspended, and we were sad not to be able to hold the open gardens event in May – but we hope that normal service will be resumed later in the year.”

For more information, contact Paul at paul49redwood@gmail.com, or call 07999 350 990.

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