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Ilkley Rotary Club hits 75 years service milestone
Ilkley Rotary Club is toasting 75 successful years of service to the community.
Currently the town has two clubs, The Rotary Club of Ilkley along with its daughter club, the Rotary Club of Ilkley and Wharfedale.
The Rotary Club of Ilkley was chartered in 1937 and celebrated its 75 years of service on both a local and international level last month at the Craiglands Hotel.
The club survived the Second World War and soon made its mark, with assistance to local charities.
It has many achievements to celebrate, including the plantation of cherry trees which lined The Grove for many years, until their recent replacement by Bradford Council.
Geoffrey Maldwyn-Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Ilkley, said: “Perhaps among the most visible achievements in Ilkley was the former Rotary House in Denton Road, purchased and converted as a holiday home with dialysis facilities for kidney patients.
“By the 1990s, with advancements in kidney treatment, the need for this holiday centre declined, and it was sold, with proceeds converted into a trust to be devoted to charitable needs, with an emphasis on health issues.”
A second trust was formed as a result of a bequest by a former club president and Burley-in-Wharfedale headmaster and chorister.
The club stepped in a few years ago to save from development the open space looking south over the old Grove Hospital. It raised £75,000 to build a bandstand on land that was on a long lease from Abbeyfield.
The Ilkley Rotary bandstand is now used most weekends by a variety of musicians who entertain the general public.
One of the club’s significant events of the year is the Ilkley Rotary pancake races, which run along The Grove.
The races take place on the morning of Shrove Tuesday and see a host of school children from across the Wharfe valley taking part.
The highlight of the day is the adult races, with each person in fancy dress to complete the event.
Its regular sponsors are Stray FM and Dacre, Son and Hartley property agents, Bettys and Mortens Hardware Store.
The club carries out many charitable activities every year, including the collection and dispatch of unwanted computers to Eastern Europe.
More recently, the club joined its French counterpart in Coutances in completing a Safe Drinking Water Well project in Benin in West Africa.
They also held a rock and rotary dance at Ben Rhydding Hockey Club which raised funds for the Manorlands Hospice.
The club’s specific charity this year is the Wheelchair Foundation, an international rotary charity which provides wheelchairs for those unable to obtain them for themselves.
New members are always welcome to join, and anyone able to represent their business or profession who would like to find out more about Rotary should contact secretary Lindsay Kitching on (01943) 604683 or look online at rotary-ribi.org for further information.
Alternatively, call in at the Craiglands Hotel at around 12.15pm on any of the first three Tuesdays of the month.