Rotary District 1090
THE DISTRICT 1090 HISTORY
Prepared by the district and not verified by Rotary Global History
FOR THE Rotary Global History A BRIEF HISTORY OF DISTRICT 1090
Prepared by the District.
THE EVOLUTION OF DISTRICT 1090 UK
The first clubs in these islands were formed in 1911 and by 1918 there were 22 clubs organised into 6 Districts all based on County boundaries. The Counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire were in District 3. Oxfordshire at that time was in District 2.
Rotary International Association for Great Britain and Ireland, formed in 1922, was renamed RIBI, as we know it, in 1938. The Board of Directors of RIBI decided in 1923 that, "to guarantee that men of ability were evenly distributed throughout the Districts, there should be smaller units", and the 5 counties mentioned above. became District 9.
In 1957 following dramatic Rotary growth worldwide, RI decided to create a further 500 Districts and in RIBI we were told to add 100 to our numbers thus District 9 became 109, although this number had to be reallocated to us from Mexico and Yucatan.
The growth of Districts continued in RIBI and in 1974 District 124 was born and of the new numbers allocated by RI to RIBI 125 and 126 were then in Iceland and 127, 128 and 129 were in Norway. This required more reshuffling within Scandinavia and 126 was subsequent reallocated on the birth of District 126 in 1984/1985 when District 109 was split into two.
All the Northern clubs went into the new District from parts of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. plus some clubs in Buckinghamshire.
District 109 retained Berkshire, Oxfordshire, the southern part of Buckinghamshire, plus part of Greater London (Middlesex) and it became as it is known today. The assets of District 109 had to be proportionally divided. Old traditions died such as always using Eastbourne and the Queens Hotel for District Conferences. Since 1985 Conferences have been held at venues stretching from Plymouth to Eastbourne along the Southern coast and even Cardiff and Harrogate have been successful Conference venues
in recent years. Usually, at least 1,000 participate in the Conferences.
The Rotary Club of Pinner left District 1130 and joined District 1090 at that time.
On 1st July 1991 RI decided no more renumbering and arbitrarily added '0' to every District in the world, thus permitting almost unlimited subdivision of Districts or creation of new ones and 1090 came into being.
A natural progression in RIBI from now on could mean that by the year 2022 there could be an extra 261 Districts in these Islands. District 1090 now consists of over 2000 men and women in 61 Rotary Clubs spanning the counties in Berks, Bucks, Middlesex and Oxfordshire.
It is an active, thriving District involved in a full range of Rotary activities across all channels of service covering local, national and international causes. It also supports and encourages our Inner Wheel and Rotaract Clubs either directly or via their local Rotary Clubs.
Recently District has taken part in Rotary initiatives such as:
- Running two Life Education Centres, North and South of the District
- Hearing Dogs for the Deaf
- Mercy Ships
- Rotary Kids Out that gives over 28,000 disadvantaged children a day
out to remember.
- Supporting Rotary projects in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand as a
result of the Tsunami disaster in December 2005.
The work of Rotarians in support of their Club and District projects was mirrored by the voluntary work of those striving to complete the PolioPlus campaign. Past RI President Bill Huntley, who was from RIBI, as Vice Chairman of the International PolioPlus Committee, was a frequent speaker at every level to convey the messages of hope and challenge. He was able to report that by 1998, 118 countries had benefited from PolioPlus grants and 154 countries had reported zero cases of polio. However, it was clear that Rotary's role had changed and leadership in advocacy, combined with other organisations, was proving to be an essential part of that role. The British Government had given a further £44 million and the USA a further
$77 million as a result of that work. There was continuing concern about the lack of national publicity in the UK media, but almost everyone recognised the huge voluntary efforts of their Rotary colleagues in the remaining polio endemic countries.
Other work, certainly taking account of the year's themes, continued by clubs in their unique and autonomous way. Like Stevenage who, with generous help from Sandy and Welwyn Hatfield clubs, were supporting building, medical, water, orphanage equipment and food supply projects in the Transylvanian area of Romania. A Sandy member, Norman Pethybridge, had made numerous visits to carry out eye examination and provide the appropriate prescriptions. Also, like D1210, especially the club of Dudley, who now completed, in co-operation with Bargarh Rotarians (D3260), a £30,000 three year long project to fund and build a leper village of forty units. It was also built with a Foundation supported water and sanitation system.
In 1996, two members from Reading Matins decided to tackle the Children's Aid Three Peaks Challenge. Their sponsored climb of Ben Nevis, Scafell and Snowdon in 24 hours, was carried through with just 11 minutes to spare. It earned them £13,000 for a project to rebuild schools in the mountainous and poorest parts of Albania. Their story enthused the other district clubs, with the result that 23 clubs provided $50,000 to match that of the Foundation. As a result those communities now have well equipped schools and really do fully understand that Rotary does care for the community, our world and its people. This climb was repeated in 1999 by seven members of Reading Maiden Erlegh Club with three ladies from their Inner Wheel Club who raised over £9,000 for the Chiltern and Thames Valley Air Ambulance.
Equally impressive was the sight greeting delegates to District 1090 Conference in March 2004. A feat of skill rather than energy resulted in a dazzling display of 75 quilts in various patterns and designs. The idea had come from a request for support by the Association of Children's Hospices using other means than just holding events and fund-raising. A visit to see Sister Frances at the Helen house Hospice she had founded, promoted the need for quilts to be used as wall coverings, and bed covers.
The Rotary Family Quilt Project was born. All over the district Rotary and Inner Wheel club members, families, daughters, sisters and friends of Rotary set about the production. The colourful result was the Conference display and a valuable asset for the Hospice.
There have been many building projects but none greater than that carried out by the Reading Club providing a home for single homeless persons in the centre of the town, having to raise £200,000. This was the Club's Centenary project although the building was only completed in March 2007.
The Abingdon Vesper Club have held annual Dragon Boat races since 1999 raising over £240,000 including a resounding £40,000 in 2006.
There have been three Presidents of RIBI from District 1090 and its predecessors. They are as follows :
E H Birchall, a member of the Oxford Club who had been Hon Treasurer of the Association previously. As Bursar of the extra- mural department of the University of Oxford, he had the administrative expertise to steer the movement through the complications of its 50th anniversary year in 1954/1955.
Howard Ensor of the Gerrards Cross and Chalfont St Peter Club was President in 1971/1972. He had been the Principal at a teaching college. He also had the distinction of being a Trustee of the Rotary Foundation a short while afterwards.
The final Rotarian of the triumvirate was Rodney Huggins of the Loddon Vale Club who was President in 1997/1998. He had been District Governor in
1987/1988 when the PolioPlus campaign was started and the District raised £250,000 as its contribution to the fund. One of the main events had been a half marathon around the colleges of Oxford arranged by the ex- British athlete and policeman, Stan Eldon, who was also District Governor in 1992/1993. Rodney was also the Vie-Chairman of the Council of Legislation of RI in Delhi in 1998.
Because District 1090 contains the Thames Valley and the City of Oxford, Blenheim Palace and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Eton in its boundaries, there has always been a Royal influence. The Duke of Edinburgh has been an Honorary member of the Rotary Club of Windsor and Eton for many years and the Club treasures his regular visits and also holds prestigious events such as Vintage Car rallies in the grounds of Windsor Castle. He is also an Honorary member of the daughter Club, Windsor St George, and has attended their annual Opera Evenings at Eton College.
District 1090 has always carried out its functions efficiently maintaining strong traditions and continues to flourish. Floreat thamesis.
We have no hesitation in saying that the visitor will find much to enjoy in District 1090.
This article is by Rodney Huggins, PP RIBI and PDG to whom we are most grateful.
Provided by RGHF Senior Historian Basil Lewis, UK 30 April 2007