Colin Murphy was inducted as president of the Rotary Club of Port Alfred at its 37th Annual Induction Dinner held at the Royal St Andrews Hotel recently.
After receiving the chains of office from outgoing president Tom McGhee, Murphy said his Rotary theme for the year was “Working as One”.
He said there were two major projects ahead, which will require working with other Rotary Clubs in the region and internationally, fellow service organisations, community organisations and the businesses in Port Alfred to meet these objectives.
“We have lost good members through attrition: trying times, financial challenges, age and passing on,” Murphy said.
“This isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. Our members need a new strategy that focuses on building connections with potential Rotarians and Young People. We need to retain existing members thru fellowship, recognition, participation and mentoring.”
He announced his board: past district governor and immediate past president Tom McGhee, finance and youth – Carol Oliver, projects – Dave Hawkins, membership – Ros Parker, public image and marketing – Tali Alexandre, international – Ray Oliver, club service and administration – Heather Howard.
In his valedictory speech, McGhee spoke of the difficult past year due to Covid-19 and the lockdowns which affected fellowship, fundraising and projects.
“We suddenly had to learn how to use Zoom and GoTo Meetings and we all had difficulty logging on often being frustrated as we were all on time and suddenly there would be a glitch where we had sound but no video or video and no sound. However with time we all became pretty good at it,” he said.
He said Port Alfred Rotary was down to 18 members, having lost some and gained some in the past year.
“I would personally like to thank all those members who have moved on for their significant contributions to the success of the Port Alfred Rotary Club.”
With normal fundraising affected, the club had to be innovative. Rotarian Dave Hawkins made contact with the Rotary Club of Hamburg-Haffencity and explained the difficulties arising from the lockdown in Ndlambe and the need for food parcels for the community. After a presentation via a virtual meeting, the German club agreed to send money.
“The Euros they sent us when converted to Rands provided for lots of food for the needy. We were also given money by the Edgar Drotsky Trust, initially to assist with the eye clinic but they also kindly allowed us to divert the money to the needy,” McGhee said.
“So during the first few months of lockdown, using some of our own funds and with the help of our Rotary friends we were able to provide in excess of R100,000 to provide baby food and food parcels to the needy people of our community. This was distributed with the help of the Ndlambe Lockdown Group who were able to identify families in need. At a later stage we also got involved in helping supply drums for the growing of vegetables but this was less successful.”
They also received a donation of nearly 3,500 litres of milk from dairy farmers in the area which was distributed within the community.
Other projects included providing wheelchairs to 20 people in need – with the help of an Australian Rotary club, and buying 40 Hippo Rollers which make it easier for communities to collect water and take it to their homes, which were distributed in Nemato.
McGhee presented the following awards: Community Service Cup to David Hawkins; President’s Award for Diligence and Service to Heather Howard; Martin Allison was honoured with a posthumous award for Rotarian of the Year; Paul Harris Fellow Recognition to Rotary Ann Lenore Schafer; and Paul Harris Fellowship Sapphires to Ray and Carol Oliver.
Via virtual meeting, past district governor for 2020/21, Maud Boikanyo, a past president of the Rotary Club of Maseru in Lesotho, inducted Maddy Webber as district governor for Rotary District 9370.