Rotary Club of Harrogate still going strong after 100 years and playing a big role in Covid times

A proud Harrogate voluntary organisation which does so much for the town; from a vast range of charity donations to environmental projects such as personally planting spring bulbs on the Stray, is celebrating its centenary this year.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 10:59 am
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 11:00 am
Arriving in style for the civic ceremony to mark the unveiling of the Rotary Club of Harrogate Centenary Flower Bed.

In recognition of all the magnificent efforts of the Rotary Club of Harrogate, which is one of the longest established in the entire UK, a civic ceremony saw the unveiling of a Rotary Club of Harrogate Centenary Flower Bed.

Outgoing president Alistair Ratcliffe said: "I have had the honour to be the President of the Rotary Club of Harrogate during its 100th year of service to the town and in support of wider international and foundation projects within the Rotary Organisation.

"Service above self has been our guiding principle from our first inaugural meeting at the Marlborough Café in Princes Street in Harrogate on November 16, 1920."

Although the pandemic has meant the club has been forced to postpone its major events of celebration, the Harrogate Rotarians have been far from idle during the lockdown months.

Mr Ratcliffe continued: "Over the last 100 years our club has made countless contributions to local and charities and international projects, estimated to be in excess of £1m in today’s value.

"Historically, Harrogate Rotary Club, like most others, wasere made up of men from the business and professional communities in ourtheir town, attending lunchtime meetings once a week.

"In more recent years we meet in the evenings and our membership profile is increasingly made up of retired people relocated to the area and transferring from existing Rotary Clubs elsewhere.

"Sadly this has resulted in fewer younger members but on a positive note we benefit from a membership with wider experience, knowledge and ideas.

"Although this appears to be in line with many other Rotary Clubs (and voluntary organisations in the town) it has led to a subtle change in Club activities.

"Inner Wheel support (wives and partners of Club members) was vitally important for the success of many of the social activities and positively essential for the success of such major community fund raising events such as the Annual Nidderdale Walk."

Meanwhile, at the regional level, the Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire Rotary District has lived up to its motto of ‘Service Above Self’ during lockdown, with almost a quarter of a million pounds worth of food being delivered to foodbanks and similar support groups.

Despite Covid and lockdown curtailing many fund raising activities, the clubs dug deep to play their part during the pandemic.

In addition to the massive support for foodbanks, close to £30,000 has been donated for PPE on top of making 20,000 face masks and scrubs.

Rotarians have been busy volunteering too, with over 6,000 volunteer hours at vaccination centres being recorded so far.

Rotary Club of Harrogate: Important dates

26th October 1920: A total of 25 interested men declared to the Leeds Rotarians that they would form a Rotary Club of Harrogate.

16th November 1920: First luncheon meeting

8th January 1921: Officially became a Rotary Club, receiving its Certificate of Membership of the British Association of Rotary Clubs

20th March 1934: Harrogate Inner Wheel inaugurated.

In normal times, Harrogate Rotarian Club meetings take place on Monday evenings at 5.30pm at the Ascot House Hotel on Kings Road in Harrogate.

For more information on the Rotary Club, visit

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