A VOLUNTARY organisation which has been supporting the Tamworth community for more than 70 years has elected its youngest-ever president as it looks to evolve and thrive for the future.
The Rotary Club of Tamworth has chosen 24-year-old Kyle Raffo to lead the local branch with the aim of widening the group’s appeal and attracting new members over the next 12 months.
The international concept of ‘Rotary’ began in Chicago, America, in 1905, when four businessmen came together with a vision of encouraging fellowship within their local business community.
It grew quickly and, in 1908, a second club was formed half a continent away in San Francisco. More followed and soon groups were founded in other countries; first landing on British shores in 1914.
Despite its long-standing history, the organisation’s relevance hasn’t wavered and it now has over a million members in more than 35,000 clubs; all working together to build communities and tackle world issues on an international and local scale – driven by the motto ‘Service Above Self’.
The Rotary Club of Tamworth alone has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity since it first started just over 70 years ago, and the group shows no sign of slowing down in that respect.
In the region of £50,000 is expected to be raised by the Tamworth branch during Kyle’s presidential year until July 2019. This is raised through a variety of fundraising activities, such as the incredibly popular annual Rotary Sleigh Appeal and Cathedral to Castle Run.
Much of the money raised is donated to local good causes carrying out vital work in many sectors of the community, as well as supporting national campaigns to fight global diseases, promote peace, alleviate hunger, support education, grow economies and provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene for all.
Kyle, who is known for running successful businesses in the town, said: “I joined Rotary around four years ago because I wanted to get involved in the local community and help raise funds as part of an organisation.
“I’ve really enjoyed it so far as it’s a great way to meet and work with other like-minded people who are looking to come together for the benefit of others in the local area.
“I was able to get stuck into a variety of projects straight away, including as race director of the Lichfield Cathedral to Tamworth Castle 10-mile run which we started two years ago in partnership with three other Rotary clubs in Tamworth and Lichfield.
“To now be elected as president – the youngest in the club’s history! – is a real honour and I’m really enjoying it. As part of the role, I am able to find and propose good causes for us to support in the area and that has been such a privilege.
“My theme for my presidential year is ‘seeing the difference’ and I want to focus on buying actual items that charities need in order to carry out their vital work. We have a very special celebration evening coming up at the start of next year where we will be presenting some of those items.
“We are a fairly diverse group here in Tamworth. We have members ranging in age from those in their teens to those in their nineties, although our average club age is one of the youngest in the UK. We are open to both men and women and have members from a wide range of backgrounds. We are growing, with more people joining each year, but I would like to build on that in the coming months as we grow and adapt to the needs of modern communities and so we can help even more charities going forward.”
The Rotary Club of Tamworth meets every other Tuesday evening at Drayton Park Golf Club. Meetings are relaxed, with an optional meal, to discuss events and charities to support. There are also occasional speakers who teach various new skills or discuss global topics and issues.
Anyone interested in joining is invited to attend an initial meeting to find out more, with the offer of a free meal.
There are a range of different projects and activities to get involved in depending on a person’s area of interest. For more information, please email email@example.com.