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Rotary Club of Tortola honours founder members on 45th Anniversary

Leader of the Opposition and Charter Member of the Rotary Club Of Tortola Ralph T. O’Neal OBE receives his plaque of honour from 1st 7020 District Governor Mr. Vance Lewis. Photo: VINO
Mr. Micheal Helm (right) receiving his plaque from the Rotary Club of Tortola. Photo: VINO
Mr. Micheal Helm (right) receiving his plaque from the Rotary Club of Tortola. Photo: VINO
Dr. Robin Tattersall (right) was one of three founder members present at the Rotary Club of Tortola's 45th Anniversary Celebration at Maria's by the Sea on Saturday January 5, 2013. Photo: VINO
Dr. Robin Tattersall (right) was one of three founder members present at the Rotary Club of Tortola's 45th Anniversary Celebration at Maria's by the Sea on Saturday January 5, 2013. Photo: VINO
President of the Rotary Club of Tortola Mr. Sam Welch (left) assists Dr Tattersal and Mr Helm with the cutting of the Club's 45th birthday cake. Photo: VINO
President of the Rotary Club of Tortola Mr. Sam Welch (left) assists Dr Tattersal and Mr Helm with the cutting of the Club's 45th birthday cake. Photo: VINO
Rotarians pose for a group photo following the honour ceremony. Photo: VINO
Rotarians pose for a group photo following the honour ceremony. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - It was a night of fond memories and reflection as the Rotary Club of Tortola sought to honour its founder members as part of its 45th Anniversary. Out of the founding group of twenty members, the ceremony was graced with the presence of three, Rotarian Ralph T. O'Neal OBE, Dr. Robin Tattersall and Mr. Micheal Helm.

The theme was “Blooming where we are” with the red hibiscus flower as its symbol. 

The night, January 5, 2013, was an evening of class and glamour at Maria’s by the Sea dining hall where the leadership and members of the Rotary Club of Tortola took a walk down memory lane as they honoured its founder members. Among those who graced the ceremony with their presence was Premier Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, who is also a serving member.

The evening started off with a cocktail reception at the bar of Maria’s by the Sea where persons spent an extensive time sharing cheers for the new year, catching up with each other, some friends they might not have seen in a long time, and of course discussing the fond memories of the early days of the club which today is 45 years old thanks to twenty civic minded service oriented responsible businessmen who stood up and took an oath to band together. Their sole objective was to contribute and help not only their community but others in the rest of the world through Rotary International.

The mistress of ceremony was Past President Delma Maduro, who served in the capacity for the period 2005-2006. She received a pleasant surprise after completing her task for the night; the 1st 7020 District Governor Mr. Vance Lewis took to the podium and announced that for the next three years, starting June 2013, Ms. Maduro will ascend to the position of Deputy District Governor. From her reaction and most in attendance it was indeed a surprise and deservingly so.

The programme for the night included the introduction of the Charter members and surviving family of those who for reasons beyond their control could not make it to the ceremony and others who would have died. Then there were remarks by President of the Rotary Club of Tortola Mr. Sam Welch, who with pride said, “I am proud to be a Rotarian and I am especially proud to be a member of the Rotary Club of Tortola. We take this time to remember all those who are gone before us and their contributions to the development of Rotary in the BVI.”

Remember they did with videos of reflections, which featured humorous and entertaining clips of interviews with long serving members, a sneak review of some interesting features carried in the news letter of back in the days called “the Rotator” which was a video display titled “A Walk down Memory lane.”

Leader of the Opposition and Charter Member of the Rotary Club Of Tortola Ralph T. O’Neal OBE in his bit of reflection said, “it took us time to get organized and to understand more about Rotary, since most of us did not know anything about it. We realize that it would take some time and I could remember Messrs J.R. O’Neal and H.O. Creque, telling us that we must not get in a hurry and reminding us that several good things started in the BVI and did not last because people were not aware of what it took to keep these organizations running.  I can remember some organizations that started and faded away quickly. I was a member of the Democratic Party, not the National Democratic Party, and it did last for two years.  After the election and the party lost that was the end of it.” This of course entertained an outburst of laughter from the audience.

Hon. O’Neal served as President of the Rotary Club of Tortola from 1974-1976. 

He spoke of the struggle to get the Red Cross going and said that they lived to see it develop in the BVI and in fact, celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2006, “despite those who were not interested in the work of the organization or did not get along with the members.  So I have learnt that when there is a good thing, it will prosper despite the ill will or opposition,” Hon. O’Neal said.

At the end of his presentation, Hon. O’Neal was given a standing ovation and before he took to his seat the birthday song was sung and out rolled the royal blue and white icing birthday cake. It was cut by the three charter members who were present at the function last night. The celebration ended close to the midnight hour when everyone left feeling well satisfied of a night well spent with some of the persons who were responsible for the Rotary family being what it is today.

Presently there are three Rotary Clubs in Tortola and come May 2013, the Virgin Islands will be the host of the International Conference, one of the largest gathering of Rotarians from across the world. 

8 Responses to “Rotary Club of Tortola honours founder members on 45th Anniversary”

  • pops (06/01/2013, 10:25) Like (4) Dislike (17) Reply
    What a wonderful night…congratulations Rotary!!
    • dog (06/01/2013, 14:50) Like (5) Dislike (25) Reply
      why was this a "dislike" night? I'm amazed at the ichy trigger finger. There have been several break away clubs for different reasons but that should not diminish the accomplishments of a corp of believers. My father was a part of the early members along with JR O'Neal, Mr. Clarence Christian- even Cills- and it was a way to meet the business community and hear issues. congratulations for 45 yrs!
    • talk girl talk (06/01/2013, 16:49) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      It was a great night and happy to see that they going to other establishments from the Moorings all the time!
  • JACK BE STILL (06/01/2013, 16:45) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lawd ah mussy uncle Ralph looking good how dem say he can’t walk...he seems like he ready to be the next Premier…sorry for Fraser and Alvin…
  • foxy (06/01/2013, 19:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Congrats on your 45 birthday rotary!
  • x memeber (06/01/2013, 20:37) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    the rotary clubs have changed over the many years just a bunch of young people trying to use the organization to get ahead and for net working.how sad!


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