The History of our Club
The Rotary Club of Paignton received its charter on September 3rd 1924. Rotary as an organisation had been founded in Chicago in 1905 by Paul Harris. It rapidly expanded throughout the world during the next twenty years. The members of our club from its outset played an active role in supporting the object of Rotary, which was and remains to encourage and foster the idea of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.
The thriving club of about 50 members met every Thursday lunchtime at Deller’s Cafe,Paignton from 1924 until 1965 when it moved to its current location at the Harbour Lights Restaurant. Its members included virtually the entire business community of Paignton serving alongside representatives from many professions. The club held very much to Paul Harris’s ‘live and help live’ ideal, becoming an active participant within the local community and serving its needs by implementing the goals of Rotary through vocational service, common fellowship and support for projects involving education, health and other social and charitable enterprise. It worked closely with the Inner Wheel and Round Table Clubs of Paignton.
Many of our members have proudly served the community of Paignton through Rotary for many years. Our oldest current member is Dr Tommy Sutton-
ROTARY CLUB OF PAIGNTON – The First Meeting
Minutes of a meeting held at Deller’s Café, Torbay Road, Paignton 22nd May 1924
It having been decided
That the Founder Members be members of the Club, viz :-
That the following persons be also elected Members of the Club, viz :-
That the Officers of the Club for the ensuing year be:-
It was also resolved that the Council consist of Rotarians H.Beare, W.N. Couldrey, H.Mackworth -
H.Beare:.Owner of Emmanuel Beare, a drapers store in Victoria Street
H. Fielding: Proprietor of HY.H.Fielding, Chartered accountants in Vkictoria Street.
W.M.Coudreys: Senior partner in Architects Company
H.Parnell: Possibly a Greengrocer.
W.Welton: Ran Welton’s Shoe Shop
Chard: Another Greengrocer
S.J Cooksley: Cookley’s House Agents, Now Read’s Estate Agents in Hyde Road.
ROTARY CLUB OF PAIGNTON -
The club held regular meetings throughout WW2. These were usually at Deller’s Café on Torbay Road.
The first noticeable change was the meeting book. Here apologies are listed but during the war there was an additional section where Rotarians ‘On Service’ are listed. A new bank account was opened ‘Rotary Club of Paignton War Weapons Week Account’.
Time and effort were given helping fund and giving assistance to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, the Paignton Hospital, the Local Boys’ Home, Keep Fit and Sports Classes in Schools (shortage of male teachers) and the HMS Torbay Fund.
They sent aid to China and to Russia. They arranged ‘Wings for Victory’ collections and support for the Exeter Air Raid Distress Fund.
The main project of the Club early in the war was the ‘Pig Food Collection and Disposal Scheme’ with a centre based at Clennon Valley. As the minutes of 1943 state “with much relief the scheme was taken over by the local council”. I am not sure if the relief was on the part of Rotarians or the pigs.
Much time was spent helping with evacuee children, such as putting on film shows and demanding better accommodation when boys were discovered sleeping three to a bed in a hostel.
There was a paper shortage so minutes were written on the back of old monthly calendar sheets and stuck into the minute book.
There was controversy when some Rotarians felt a speaker had been too forthright. In 1943 Rotarian Kazimierz Zienkiewicz, a past president of the Rotary Club of Katowice in Poland spoke to the Club on ‘Outpost is working’. The gentleman was in exile in London and had set up an organisation called Outpost, for Rotarians in exile from Poland, Belgium, Holland, France and Czechoslovakia. It is not clear what he said to the Club but there was a motion to report him to ”the competent Authorities and suggested that his activities be kept under observation”. This was not carried but it was agreed that the points raised by speaker were of a dangerous character and should not be openly voiced in public. In Polish rotary circles he is a hero, known as the man who saved Rotary in Poland, rotary having been banned there.
The final wartime act was to set up a ‘Welcome Home Fund’.
A.F. Aylin Honorary Member E.R.Hooper Banking
R.Barr Hotels N.Howard Milk
H.C.Beare Drapery R.T.Letcher Law
J.A.Chard Grocery R.W.Leaman Wallpaper/Paint
H. Cove Clark Sports Goods T.Mitchell-
W.N.Couldry Architect C.M.Ricks Jeweller
B.M.Dale Minister N.Rossiter* Furniture
W.N.Davies Accountant P.B.Rossiter Milling
H.Drake Honorary Member T.S.Sharp Plumbing
C.W.E.Drew Surveyor H.B.Spry Men’s Clothing
C.H.Drew* Builder H.H.Stones Tobacconist
H.T.Drew Builder J.Sutton Printing
J.E.Eastley Law R.C.Taylor Gas
C.F.Ellis Hardware W.A.Towill Retired
L.E.O.Evans Motor Insurance J.W.Tranter Greengrocer
W.J.Evans* Baking A.C.Truett Hairdresser
M.Fawcett Electrics S.Vickers Retired
H.H.Fielding Accountant J.Vickery Photography
L.P.Foale Butcher A.Waycott* Estate Agent
R.Foster Retired W.Welton Shoes
R.J.George Honorary W.Whiteley Minister
F.L.Green Private Schools C.H.Wield Hotels
L.B.Griffin Dentist J.Waters Garage Services J.F.Harris Radio Equipment
47 members *On Active (War) Service
Interestingly meetings always started at 1.10 pm. This allowed shopkeepers to close their shops for lunch at 1.00 pm and walk to Dellers Cafe for the meeting.
OCTOBER 1970 ROTARY CLUB OF PAIGNTON HELPS KEEP THE TOILETS OF PAIGNTON FLUSHING
Extract from Business Minutes
8th October 1970 Community Service Committee Report
“It was reported that a letter had been received from Torbay County Borough calling a public meeting to meet the Council Officers, to discuss alleviation of public distress due to the strike.”
The strike referred to was a strike of council workers, mainly those involved in refuse collection and sewage disposal. It was nationwide and the Prime Minister at the time was Edward Heath. It appears that the sewage workers had walked out of the sewage works at Clennon Valley and ‘things’ were building up in the tanks. Volunteers from Paignton Rotary and Round Table (now sadly defunct) worked 6-
ROTARY CLUB OF PAIGNTON GOLDEN JUBILEE 1974