Ballymoney Rotary Club celebrates 50th anniversary

Founder Members at the Charter Dinner, 12 November 1965
Founder Members at the Charter Dinner, 12 November 1965

The Rotary Club of Ballymoney celebrates 50 years since it was chartered this November.

The Ballymoney Club shares common aims with over 34,000 clubs worldwide, meeting in over 200 countries: to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian services, to encourage high ethical standards and to advance peace worldwide.

Ballymoney Rotary Club was formed in 1965 when local businessmen Bruce Bodkin and Jack Pinkerton had the initial vision of a new Club and were ably supported by Billy Dowds, Willie Dickson, John McElderry, Albert Murdock, Jack McCracken, Hubert Taggart, Tom McElderry, David Christie and Bob Price.

Following sponsorship by Coleraine Rotary Club and Billy Marcus, their Extension Officer, The Rotary Club of Ballymoney was formally chartered at the Northern Counties Hotel, Portrush on 12th November 1965 with 26 Founder Members, 5 of whom are still alive, and it presently has 37 active members. Founding President Jack Pinkerton and Secretary Bruce Bodkin led the newly formed Club which initially met at the Primrose Café, lunch costing 7 shillings and 6 pence (38p). The Club has continued to meet weekly since then except for public holidays.

In addition to supporting many local charities, the Club has made donations of over £42,000 to Rotary Foundation. From its early days, Ballymoney Rotary Club was keen to support the local community and environmentally the Club sponsored several seats, tree planting and flower beds around the town.

Funds were raised through events such as the annual Harvest Ball and member’s donations and numerous local and national charities were supported. The club enjoyed a very active social life, cementing many friendships locally and also with more distant Rotary Clubs and annual golf competitions .