WHITCHURCH Rotary Club's new president is making plans to debunk some of the myths surrounding the 115-year-old worldwide organisation.

As the Rotary year gets under way the club plans to grow, increase membership, boost its fundraising programme and achieve even more for the Whitchurch community.

But president Ian Fawcett wants to set some records straight, too.

"I think most people in town are aware of various things that we do," he said. "but few people really know what Rotary is all about.

"So, first, we need to get rid of some myths and legends that often surround Rotary.

"We're not a men only club. We're not some sort of secret society. We have no gender, racial, political or religious barriers.

"We are simply a group of locals who share a common interest in friendship, fun, working together and supporting others who need help in and around our own community as well as nationally and internationally.

"We hope many new members will join this year, so one of our priorities is to be clearer about who we are and what Rotary is all about."

When the current pandemic lockdown is over 'what Rotary is all about' will include opening the weekly meetings to visiting non-members and giving them a behind the scenes opportunity to see how the club operates.

Until then, meetings are conducted through Zoom video conferencing.

A new Friends of Whitchurch Rotary group is also being discussed for people who support the club's activities but don't want to become members.

"Our main strength lies in local projects," added Ian. "Such as our annual concert and canal boat trips for elderly and disabled people, prostate cancer testing, the Lifeline service that equips vulnerable people to summon help if they need it, our annual 'Santa' tours and each Christmas morning we prepare and distribute hot meals and gifts for people who may not eat much else, or see anyone else, that day.

"Throughout the pandemic we've also supported local healthcare organisations to help them fight Covid-19. Some of these things are well known but there's still a lot that people don't understand."

For information about the club and its projects go to whitchurchrotary.org.uk and to ask about Rotary or Friend membership call Mike Nimmo on 01948 667857 or Anne Newman on 01948 667390.