The club recently held its Handover meeting on Zoom with Trish Pemberton standing down as President and that honour going to Gary Blenkinsopp. David Hogg stepped up as Senior Vice President. As the pictures show, the handover of the chains of office had already happened a few nights earlier when a small group of us got together for a photo shoot and a few words of support for each other.

Trish commented, “Many of the things I had expected to do, such as visits to other clubs, have been impossible to carry out. Nevertheless, thanks to the hard work of members, we have still managed to achieve a great deal to assist our local community in ways I never expected would be possible. I have been thrilled to see the support we have received from the community, showing the confidence they have in us which was reflected in the local authority grants awarded to the club, and not forgetting Stephen Creaney who, via Newton Press, handed us the profits from his recently completed book on the history of Newton Aycliffe. Some events have not been able to take place, such as our Christmas fundraising. However, thanks go to Tesco and their customers for contributions to the collecting box in store and we managed to hold the Railway Exhibition online. What a year! Wonderful in so many ways but, like everyone, I am so looking forward to returning to something like normality”.

President Gary went on to say, “The Covid Pandemic is still not behind us but with the fantastic rollout of the vaccination programme we can look forward and start to plan fundraising activities and get out into the community we serve. The need for Rotary is greater than ever with many residents suffering real hardship during lockdown. Rotary Newton Aycliffe will soon restart face to face meetings and our first event will be at the Family Fun Day in the Town Centre on Saturday 17th July where we will have a stand. Please come for a chat and find out about Rotary and hear what we have planned. This year one of our priorities will be raising money for defibrillators in Newton Aycliffe and surrounding areas, and we are looking forward to working in partnership with the defibrillator community group and David Sutton-Lloyd”.

David Hogg said, “I am pleased and proud to be appointed Senior Vice President. To support President Gary will be an honour and a pleasure. I just hope when I become President in 2022, I can do as good a job as my predecessors”.

The Zoom meeting ended with the outgoing President presenting Brian Winwood with the Syd Howarth Award for services to the club and Rotary International. Trish then bowed out with a big thank you to all our supporters across Newton Aycliffe and beyond.