Rotary Club of Belfast

John Savage Trophy


The John A Savage Memorial Trophy and Bursary is awarded by the Club annually to the individual or group selected as giving great service to the Community. Inaugurated in 2009 the Cup has been specially refurbished and created in memory of former member the late John Savage.

The 2022-23 Award has been awarded to
Corrymeela for The Seeds of Hope Project

Corrymeela07The Club are delighted to award the 2022-23 John Savage Award and Bursary to Corrymeela for the Seeds of Hope project which is being supported by the Club as well as the Rotary Clubs of Dublin, San Antonio Texas and The Hague Metropolitan. The Project which is in a pilot stage this year aims to bring cross community groups of young people together and foster relationships.

Following an outline of the history of the Award and the Club member it is in memory of, by Eric Rainey and Past President Brian Clements respectively, the Trophy was presented to Sylvia Gordon, Head of Programme by Past President Brian during a joint Belfast and Dublin Rotary Club visit to Corrymeela, Tuesday 14 May 2024.


The John Savage Trophy has been created from an historic award – the RR Bowman Silver Cup which, with thanks to Eric Rainey and Past President Craig McClelland has been refurbished with a new wooden plinth which displays the winners from 2009. R R Bowman was a Club member who died about 50 years ago. He was a great horticulturist and had particular ability in growing beautiful scented roses. The Silver Cup, given by him to our Club, was awarded for many years at our Autumn Flower Show, for the best Rose in Show. It was often won by the late Rotarian David A. Dorman, O.B.E. K.O.L - a Belfast Rotarian for well over 50 years and also a wonderful horticulturist.

Trophy15John Savage (pictured top right) born 12.04.1929, was a Club member who died over 20 years ago. A man of action with great ability, high ethical and moral standards - his Scouting career was unique! - Scout Master; Group Scout Leader and latterly President of his own Group. John resigned as Director (having followed an engineering career) in Craig's in 1972 to follow a career that he much loved, in Scouting - an extension of his lifetime hobby. With many awards for his Community Service he was Field Commissioner 1972 - 74 and Executive Commissioner 1974 until his death. He brought three Scout Associations in Ireland together. 'A man behind everything' he was appointed J.P. for his work in Juvenile courts; was a member of SELB from 1985; Chairman NI Standing Conference of Youth Organisations; member of the Board of Governors, Special School for Handicapped children, Newtownards; and a member of the Programme of Training Sub Committee (London H.Q.). On joining the Rotary Club of Belfast, John quickly entered into the Work and Service under the Aims & Objects of Rotary. Possibly, one of his greatest contributions in Rotary and Scouting was his re-establishing the Rotary Boys' Camp, at Crawfordsburn Scout Centre 1977, with Pat Smyrl and Denise O'Neill, Scouts and Ranger Guides. He nurtured the disadvantaged children attending the Camps, as they enjoyed the experience of sleeping under canvas with a simple Scout programme, and he made a lasting difference to many lives.

Previous Awards

  • JS Award 2022 PresentationThe Club awarded the 2021-22 John Savage Trophy and Bursary to the East Belfast Survivors of Suicide Support Group and President Steven was delighted to present them to Claire Curran at the Club meeting Monday 16 January 2023. Accepting it Clare greatly thanked for the recognition which means so much. 

    SOS was formed in September 2006 as a response to the rise in suicides in the East Belfast Area. It was setup and is managed by some of the family and friends of those who lost their lives to suicide its aim being to provide help and comfort to those left behind by providing a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen, giving families a safe place to talk about their loss when they are ready and trying to answer to the many questions that are asked in the aftermath of a sudden death by suicide. They have grown over the last 16 years and now also provide support to those who have attempted suicide or had serious suicidal thoughts.
  • IMG 5763The Club awarded the 2020-21 Trophy and Bursary to PeacePlayers NI and President Ken was delighted to be able to present it to them Thursday 02 December 2021.

    PeacePlayers is an international organisation which originated in the USA, but now also works in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, the Middle East and South Africa. They, applying their very powerful message that: “Children who play together can learn to live together”, use the power of sport, specifically basketball, to unite, educate and inspire young people to create a more peaceful world, by offering sport programming, peace education, and leadership development to those living in communities in conflict. They challenge the hate that is driven by the fear of our differences and aim to: Bridge Divides - by building deep, lasting friendships among young people from communities with histories of conflict; Develop Leaders - by working through sport with young people to create leaders; thereby bridging divides, unifying their communities and serving as advocates for change and Change Perceptions - by using the public nature of sport to illustrate the potential for cooperation to the broader community.
  • RioghnachMurphyWorkWithHomelessFamiliesThe Club were delighted to award the 2019-20 John Savage Trophy and Bursary to the Salvation Army Belfast, Grosvenor Lifehouse Project which provides shelter for homeless families and which Salvation Army believe helps improve life chances and make a difference to some of the most vulnerable in society.

    The Salvation Army operates over 80 Lifehouses across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, so called because they are more than a place to stay; they are places where people can get support with their housing issues and with other aspects of their lives. The Grosvenor Lifehouse provides shelter for 18 homeless families in Belfast with a vision to support the most vulnerable and to create opportunities for families who quite often feel a sense of hopelessness and despair. There are around 2,000 families without homes in NI impacting 6,000 children and the Salvation Army believe it is extremely important to have somewhere for children to play as it is through play, they learn how to interact, self-regulate, distinguish good from bad etc., as well as developing personally - if there is no home there can be no play. It was not possible to present the Award in person ; the picture shows Salvation Army Belfast's Rioghnach Murphy when she spoke to the Club about the Lifehouse in February 2020.
  • JohnSavageCupGroupThe Club were delighted to award the 2018-19 John Savage Trophy and Bursary to YMCA Belfast which, with inspirational leaders, works with children, young people, families and the community and supports young people to achieve their potential and their goals. 

    President Mark presented it to YMCA Belfast General Secretary Howard Davey with YMCA’s Youth and Community Development Worker Brian Moore and Lydia Niece at the Club meeting Monday 04 June pictured right with Club Rotarians Eric Rainey (far left) and Past President Brian Clements (far right). More here...

    IMG 03347 Club members led by Eric Rainey - PE Ken, David Boyd, Brian Clements, John McCleery, John O'Carroll and Alan Rundle - visited the team Monday 27 January. They were made extremely welcome and were hugely impressed by the tremendous work being done and the results achieved as well as the fact that the team has used the John Savage Award incorporating it positively in its programmes. More here...
  • ThomasPresRosemaryAndPierceThe Club were delighted to award the 2017-18 John Savage Trophy and Bursary to the unique project R-City, based in North Belfast, which is having an immense impact on young people. It was presented by President Rosemary on Monday 18 June to Thomas Turley (Leader) and Pierce McConnell (former participant now a volunteer).

    R-City is a project between Shankill & Ardoyne communities that works with young people to enhance their personal development through an informal approach. It was founded by two dedicated Youth Workers, Alan and Thomas, who identified the need to enable, empower and support young people. It has developed extensive links not only throughout this island but also internationally and links with YouthAction and the Belfast Activity Centre (both previous recipients of the John Savage Award). In addition, the project is well respected by statutory and voluntary sectors in the area. The name ‘R-City’ is a play on “Our–City” and CITY stands for - Communities Integrating Through Youth. More here...

    Club members VP Ken Nixon, Past President Brian Clements, Past President David Boyd, Eric Rainey and John McCleery had an inspiring visit Monday 04 February when they met Alan Waite and Thomas Turley who revealed the R-City project’s vision and effectiveness was providing something very special indeed. They were also privileged to have a discussion with the highly impressive Passionist priest Father Gary Donegan. The Club have offered its support to them particularly in providing interview skills, CV preparation etc. and wish them continued success in their work. More here...
  • JohnSavageAward to BAC3The John Savage Memorial Trophy 2015-16 was awarded to the Belfast Activity Centre who have over 25 years' experience of challenging and inspiring young people and those young at heart, to realise their full potential.

    It was presented by President Ivan to CEO Stephen Dickson and Chairman Tom Scott OBE at the Club meeting Monday 27 February 2017.  BAC annually supports over 20,000 young people to expand their personal and social development through outdoor adventure learning. More here.

  • KatrinaPresRonnieGeraldineAnneWithTrophyandChequeThe John Savage Memorial Trophy 2014-15 was awarded to New Lodge Arts Group

    It was accepted at the Meeting on Monday 15 February by Katrina Newell, Head of Arts and Youth Development along with Geraldine Wilkins, Chair of the Board, and Anne Delaney, Arts Programme and Operations Manager who expressed their thanks. They are a community arts organisation based in the Greater New Lodge area of North Belfast which provides opportunities for people of all ages to actively engage with and participate in a wide range of art forms that they would not otherwise be exposed to - more here...
  • JimNicholsonAcceptsAward15The 2013-144 Trophy was awarded to YouthActionNI.

    It was accepted by Deputy Chairman Jim Nicholson at the meeting 19 January 2015 who in turn thanked the Club. More information on YouthAction NI and the Club's support for it can be seen here.
  • 2011-12 JS AwardThe 2011-12 Trophy was awarded to SOS Bus NI.

    It was accepted by SOSBus NI CEO Joe Hyland at the meeting 28 October 2013.

    More information on SOS Bus NI and the Club's support for it can be seen here.


  • 2010-11 JS AwardThe John A Savage Trophy for 2010-11 was presented on 21st February 2011 to the Belfast Rotaract Club.

    The award was collected, on behalf of the Rotaract Club by President Tom Eisenhart and founder member Laura Garland.

    Presenting the award, President Brian Clements stated he was personally delighted to present this award given his long-standing association with John Savage and the connection with the Rotaract Club.

    2009 JS Award
    The first recipients of the Trophy were the Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church Youth Group for their work on the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme and commitment to young people. The Trophy was presented on 23rd November 2009 by President Arthur Boyd to Heather Best, Harmony Hill Open Centre and, by chance, two of PP Alan White's grandchildren - Peter and Sarah White were on the winning team! click image to enlarge

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