Rotary South club winds down

17:00, Jul 30 2014

The Rotary club of Timaru South is stopping service after 47 years in the community.

The club made the decision to close at the end of July because of a falling and ageing membership and finding it difficult to attract new members. Currently, the club has 18 members.

In the past it has had up to 60.

Club secretary of 12 years Des Kearns said he was sorry it was time for the club to end.

"We had to take a good firm look at our future and had to make a very harsh decision."

He said the closure would have a ripple effect on the community as donations from the club would no longer be available.


Last year the club donated $260,000 to community groups in need. Most recently it donated $50,000 to the Timaru branch of St John for the new yellow ambulances.

"The South Rotary Club has built many strong community connections with a considerable number of local associations and groups and has enjoyed the support received from the community over these many years."

The club was opened in 1967 and was sponsored by the Rotary club of Timaru to take the overflow of its members.

It was the last Rotary Club to allow women to become members, the first and only woman to join being the current president Jennifer Penny.

Activities of the club members included street collections, bottle drives, driving for the blind, car shows, the operation of food caravans and marshalling at events, and the annual potato project.

Its main projects have been the Patiti Point development, the continuation of the Carols by Candlelight programme and the running of the Bookarama.

Carols by Candlelight and the Bookarama will continue to operate though the Rotary Club of Timaru North.

Kearns said a number of the club's members will transfer to the Timaru North club.

The Rotary Club of Timaru North currently has 43 members; a good workable number, president Rob Talbot said.

He said most of the members were in the 50-plus age range, with around half a dozen aged under 50.

Although, the lack of younger members was a common problem felt by all service clubs, Talbot said he was not worried about the club.

There are currently 48 members in the Rotary Club of Timaru.

President Lynette Wilson said the club has a diverse age range from late 30s to 80s.

"There is a good feel to the club," Wilson said.

The Timaru Herald