Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ormskirk Rotary Club celebrate 75th Anniversary - Speech given by President Rev. Dr Peter A Sewell

"It is an indication of the respect shown to the Rotary Club of Ormskirk on our 75th Charter Night, by the many fellow Rotarians from other clubs who are here this evening.

We hear a lot about RESEPCT today. Not just for your elders as I was taught, but virtually everyone you come across. Unfortunately many people do not even respect the laws and orders of their own community. But what people forget, is that respect has to be earned.  The Rotary motto Service above self embraces aspects of respect.

President Rev. Dr Peter A Sewell at Ormskirk Rotary Club 75th Anniversary of Charter

I ask myself is this not the secret of the success of Rotary throughout the World.

Our theme for 2012/13 is 'Peace through service.' But what voluntary organisation in the World would raise 200m dollars for the eradication of polio? We continue to support Polio plus. It's wonderful that India has just had its first polio free year!

In the U.K. there are 55,000 Rotarians in 1850 clubs, making contact with their local communities to raise money for all kinds of charities.

How do we get on with each other? By respecting each other.

The people of Ormskirk respect their Rotary clubs, Ormskirk & Clock Tower and are happy to support our charity projects. This year our Christmas collection for local charities brought in £6800. Our float will not last for ever, neither will our ageing collectors, so we thank the Rotarians from Clock Tower who helped in this very worthwhile activity. Other collections have been made in supermarkets in Ormskirk and Burscough. Stroke awareness day was supported by handing out leaflets in Ormskirk and Burscough, Our exchange in Ithica in USA is still well supported and long lasting friendships are made. We have financed 31 Aqua Boxes (at £80 a time) in the past 12 months with the help of collections made at the Schools Carol concert at Ormskirk School. We have raised our profile with the people of Ormskirk by running a Market Stall and with our Rotary Junior Award Scheme which increases in popularity with our Primary Schools.

In my work, teaching in universities, I saw how respect could differ culturally.

For example, in Oman – a student arrives late for lecture, greets the lecturer “As salam alaykum” “Peace be with you” but then shakes hands with all his friends! He is not being disrespectful to me – it is part of his Muslim culture. And he wasn't fined for being late. (John McCormick please note!)

Rotary Club International pennants Ormskirk Rotary Club 75th Anniversary of Charter Night Dinner

In Chaing Mi University in Thailand. As they pass a Teacher a student will show respect by bobbing his head, so that his head is lower than the teachers. It reminded me of the song 'Sons of the Sea bobbing up and down like this!'

You can imagine the problems when visiting a Thai family sitting on a low sofa! Or even worse, when invited to a meal in a Thai home; eaten, squatting on the floor, the young girls had to bring in the food moving on heir knees!

Respect shown to people (especially of another race or culture) is a wonderful way of breaching racial barriers. Make the effort to learn the first greeting in their language and you have a friendship for life, which we, as Rotarians, can share."

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