Gala Centenary Dinner
The Gala Charity Dinner held Thursday 15 September 2011 in the magnificent surroundings of the City Hall, Belfast celebrated the Club's 100 years continuous service to the City of Belfast, the island of Ireland and worldwide since the first meeting in 1911 and was the centre-piece of the year's celebrations.
260 Rotarians and friends from all Ireland and the UK attended the glittering event. Principal guests included Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant from the County Borough of Belfast Dame Mary Peters, Rotary International Great Britain and Ireland President Burman (pictured 3rd left), Rotary District Governor Barney Callaghan (pictured far left) together with Dublin Club President Mark Doyle and Manchester Club Past President Roy Chapman (other 1911 Clubs). Presidents from Cork, Belfast East, Belfast West, Belfast Fortwilliam and Newtownabbey joined us as did Past District Governors Wes Armstrong, Gay Berkery, Ray Cosgrove and Paul Hutchinson. Belfast Inner Wheel President Rosie Clements and District Rotaract Representative Laura Garland and District Secretary Niamh Mulholland also graced us.
City of Belfast Reception
Having gathered in the marble entrance hall members and guests were greeted by President Adrian and Margaret on the Grand Staircase and proceeded to enjoy a City of Belfast reception with canapés in the Rotunda whilst listening to the gentle airs of the harp.
Dinner in the Great Hall
Following the reception members and guests proceeded to their tables in the Great Hall where Master of Ceremonies Rotarian Claire Savage asked all to welcome President Adrian and his guests who were led in by piper Alan Boyd.
The more formal part of the evening commenced with a video link to Rotary International President Kaylan Banjeree as he was unable to attend the Centenary Dinner in person. He regretted that he could not on this occasion have been here to celebrate this momentous occasion.
He hoped to come to Belfast during the Centenary Year and congratulated the Club on its first century of service together.He congratulated the Club on its first century of service together and gave his best and warmest wishes for a second century of even greater success and for a wonderful centenary year in which the Club will reach within to embrace humanity together. Full speech can be read here.
In a hugely entertaining keynote address RIBI President Burman recognized the work done by the Club in the last 100 years both locally and internationally and he thanked the Club on behalf of the 1000's and 1000's of people whose lives the Club had changed and saved and who have never heard of the Belfast Club. He also asked all members this year to pass on the gift of membership.
He gave some insight as to how Rotary had changed his life and he asked all members this year to pass on the gift of membership. On an outside wall at Chicago University is a quote which he thought summed up what celebrating our 100th birthday really means, by Margaret Mead, author and Nobel Prize Winner it says (paraphrased) 'A small group of people can change the world and frequently do'. He stated that the Belfast Club was that small group of people which for 100 years has changed lives as members of the greatest service organization in the world and he looked forward to the next century of service by Rotarians in Belfast.
He thanked Past President (PP) Trevor Hinds for collecting him from the airport, PPs Courtenay Thompson and Gordon Millington for their tour of Belfast and Centenary Committee Chairman PP Marnette Lyons for personally keeping him so well informed about the evening. He also thanked Past District Governor Paul Hutchinson who has been doing a huge amount of work with Rotaract and District Governor Barney who, on the National Executive, is bringing to the national scene a clarity of thought and strategic perspective which will really move the organisation forward. He concluded by asking all those not Belfast Club members to be upstanding and toast The Rotary Club of Belfast. Full speech can be read here.
In his Centenary address, President Adrian marked the legacy of the Club's founders and praised the significant milestones in our history of projects undertaken over the years touching the lives of and making a difference to so many people. He expressed concern at the sustainability of the Rotary movement unless there is a change in the image of what Rotary is really like, the projects undertaken and the reality of Rotary as a welcoming organisation where diversity is valued. Expressing confidence that Rotary could and would change he said that members have made others dreams a reality in the past and, in the present, our challenge is to continue to do so. He asked all fellow Rotarians and friends to yes celebrate our 100 years of service but to make this year a time of renewal and change to strengthen our Rotary Values in practice and to increase our endeavours at home and beyond. Full speech here.
Four Way Test and Paul Harris Sapphire Award
President Adrian called on Assistant District Governor PP Maurice Brooks to come to the podium and read the Rotary Four Way Test which Rotarians seek to apply in their professions to all the things they think, say or do. Translated into more than 100 languages and published in thousands of ways it is one of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world. (The Four Way Test can be read here.) President Adrian was then delighted to announce a Sapphire Paul Harris to be awarded to PP Gordon Millington and asked President Burman to present it.
Two presentations were also made.
Presdent Burman presented an engraved glass Centenary gift stating that: "As the 90th President of Rotary International Great Britain and Ireland, I have the huge honour that we have 4 "1911" Clubs that are celebrating their Charter of 100 years and I decided on a personal note that I couldn't let an occasion like this go unmarked. So I have brought a small gift over for you Mr President which I hope the Club will enjoy in recognition of 100 years of Rotary Service 1911-2011. please accept this with my personal best wishes."
Rotary Club of Dublin 101st President Mark Doyle then presented an engraved glass Centenary gift to President Adrian stating: "It is one of 4 we have had made - one for each Club Dublin, Belfast, London and Manchester."
Centenary Banners and Books were presented by President Adrian to President Burman and President Mark Doyle and with the formal part of the evening over the gathering enjoyed the varied entertainment performed by the highly talented McGuckin family.