It’s a proud record of 60 years of service and good fellowship.
The White Rock Rotary Club – oldest established of five Rotary organizations on the Semiahmoo Peninsula – celebrated its diamond anniversary with a party last week at Hazelmere Golf and Country Club, followed by a picnic lunch near White Rock pier on the actual anniversary dateMonday.
The evening celebration, punctuated by quips and stories from past-president and MC Frank Sequeira, illustrated that club members have always enjoyed camaraderie and a good helping of friendly ribbing.
But as some 120 members and guests heard from numerous speakers, the abiding principle, ‘Service Above Self,’ has always been central to the club’s activities.
Each year, the club honours a member of the community with a Paul Harris Award, in recognition of outstanding contributions to charitable work.
Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin – himself a past-president club – and SOURCES chief executive officer David Young were among those paying tribute to contributions of members to both Rotary’s international projects (including providing medical expertise and material goods for Third World nations, and student exchanges) and what Hogg termed the club’s “valued and honoured role in our community.”
Also on hand to congratulate club members were Rotary district governor Lyle Ryan, assistant district governor Linda Coyle, Semiahmoo Rotary Club president Stuart Kirkpatrick and Cliff Annable, executive director of the South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce.
A New Westminster Rotary Club contingent also attended to add congratulations, and to remind members that their club was the sponsor when the White Rock club was founded – predating the incorporation of the City of White Rock by two years. The fourth Rotary club to organize south of the Fraser River, it was formally presented its charter on July 5, 1955, at the Tara Supper Club, with Martin Deacon as the first president.
“It’s a big deal for us, being the oldest club in the area,” current president Joan Apel told Peace Arch News.
“We’re the one that spawned all the others.”
In her address to members and guests, Apel noted the club has 57 active members, with prospective members on the way.
“We’ll be going into our 60th year with 60 members,” she said, to applause.
Arriving dinner guests were greeted by White Rock’s original fire truck, a 1925 Studebaker, parked outside the dining room. It was a reminder of a new club project – initiated by Apel and to be seen through by president-elect Richard Stott – in which the truck will be moved near White Rock’ City Hall as a permanent heritage exhibit.
“The city has said they will give us some space between the police station and the firehall,” Stott explained, noting the historic vehicle, currently kept at the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum in Cloverdale, will have a protective glass-walled display house on the site.
Past-presidents Bob Livesey and Douglas Brown shared highlights of the club history. Livesey – longest serving member, with 41 years – said that when the club was first chartered, 152 Street wasn’t a continuous road.
“There was no Semiahmoo Centre, no bridge over the Nicomekl and there were government agents’ offices where the Washington Avenue Grill is now.”
He noted some names that live on in the community – including Earl Marriott and Dr. Allan Hogg – were among the earliest members of the club.
Chicken barbecues at the Sea Festival, reverse auctions and Valentine’s Day dances were all part of the early fundraising activities, he recalled.
The Rotary Club of White Rock’s many contributions include:
• Raising money for international projects, such as the Shanti Uganda Birth House, the Zoe Health Clinic in Honduras, plus numerous projects in Cambodia, Nigeria and India, including initiating a program in Assam to bring pure water to two villages.
• Fundraising for local projects, including South Surrey Indoor Pool, Earl Marriott Secondary’s Wheelhouse Theatre, the Coast Capital Playhouse, the Rotary Field House, White Rock’s Centre For Active Living, the annual charity book sale) and Terry Fox Run).
• Community work, include supporting Sea Festival, beach clean-up, Remembrance Day, Rec for Kids, SOURCES Food Bank, Peace Arch Hospital, Salvation Army Kettles, the Christmas tree at Morgan Crossing, carol singing at Morgan Place and assembling Christmas hampers.