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Appeal launched with Darlaston Rotary Club facing closure

By Charlotte Callear | Darlaston | News | Published:

A rotary club in Walsall which has been running in the borough for nearly 70 years is set to close over the next 12 months, it has been revealed.

This year's president Ian Hankinson with predecessor Paul Fenton

The Rotary Club of Darlaston's new president Ian Hankinson has warned that the club is likely to close.

Ageing membership is the reason behind the expected closure, and in an attempt to save it, the club are pleading for support and new members to sign up.

They say without the club, which was formed in 1949, good causes and the wider community would not receive fundraising support.

In the past few years they have raised money for St. Lawrence’s Church after their windows were broken, Rowley View Nursery who wanted new outdoor equipment and the local scouts who needed new tents plus they raise money for a number of international causes.

They also joined with other rotary clubs in the region to arrange for around 2,500 under privileged children to visit Drayton Manor for a day and, for at least 14 years, they have regularly work with Aldridge Sailing Club to allow disabled people to have a go at the sport.

Rotarians Ian Campbell with 'Hank' Hankinson and some of the Darlaston children on the KidsOut day at Drayton Manor Park

They have also helped to raise money for Darlaston Remembers, which ensures the remembrance day parade goes ahead in Darlaston each year.

But they are most well known for arranging Santa Clause to visit different spots around the area during the Christmas period to raise money.

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Mr Hankinson has been a member for 17 years and was appointed as president for 2018 to 2019.

He said: "Our small membership is ageing fast and a number have worrying health concerns.

"Closure of the club will mean that all the good work we do each year supporting the young, the old and the less fortunate, will cease. It will even mean that we will be unable to bring Santa Claus to the area which brings smiles to children's faces.

"What we need are some younger men and women with new ideas, new skills and more vitality who can spare a few hours each month.

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"There have been a number of clubs around us that have closed recently including in Penkridge and Albrighton so it is a problem everyone is facing.

"We feel very passionately about what we do. When scouts need new tents or the church has a broken window or if the schools need something, they can turn to us because we are here to help."

Membership cost £8 per month and much of that goes to insurance cover for members who help at events.

Membership can vary from members to associate members, who commit less hours, or friends of the club, who commit whenever they can.

The club meets at Darlaston Town Hall for around two hours twice a month on Tuesday evenings to discuss how to help the community and organise fundraising events over tea and biscuits.

They also arrange sociable dinners or events among members.

Anyone who would like further information or would like to join can visit their site www.darlastonrotary.org

Charlotte Callear

By Charlotte Callear
@CCallear_Star

Reporter based at the Express & Star's Wolverhampton head office

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