On 23rd February 1905 four lonely men met in a lawyer’s office in downtown Chicago to form a professional group with the aim of friendship and to further business interests.

The meeting was a great success so they decided to meet weekly and rotate the meeting place from one person’s office to another – hence the name Rotary.

The membership grew and spread rapidly so very soon the meetings were held in larger venues, more clubs were formed and the movement spread overseas to become Rotary International.

Now after 116 years, with one and a quarter million members in almost every country, Rotary, and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative stand on the brink of eliminating polio from the world.

But Rotarians do more than just fighting polio – its charity, the Rotary Foundation, was voted the number one charity in the world last year and through the Rotary Foundation and their own efforts Rotarians improve health, save the environment, combat illiteracy, provide clean water, stop hunger and provide peace scholars. And so much more.

The Rotary Wheel, the symbol of Rotary, is well recognised throughout the whole world, and the Rotary colours of blue and gold colour will be illuminating the Weymouth Pavilion from 22nd to 28th February to celebrate that anniversary.

At any given moment in time Rotarians are at work somewhere in the world fulfilling the Rotary motto of Service Above Self by helping those less fortunate than they are, whatever those needs may be.

Keith Barnard-Jones