It was in 1935 that Mr Will James founded the Rotary movement in Willenhall sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bilston. He became the Club's first President.
The club soon attracted 35 prominent local personalities as members and established the strong charitable philosophy that exists to this day. In its early years, reflecting community needs it was, in effect, the 'Social Services' for Willenhall including many "caring" activities, providing transport to hospitals for "vital" cases and organising annual Christmas parties for children from "Distressed Areas".
In 1941 despite wartime petrol rationing, the club provided transport to service clubs for serving men on leave. 1943 saw the establishment of close relations with local schools and the presentation of prizes for worthy performances by pupils. Three years later, the club acted as host to a party of young Norwegians helping to celebrate peace in Europe beginning the clubs' enthusiasm for international fellowship. This resulted in the formation of a local branch of the United Nations Association.
In February 1955 Willenhall and other local clubs celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the Rotary Movement at the Victoria Hotel, Wolverhampton.
The clubs' own 50" Anniversary was celebrated at the Town Hall, Walsall attracting guests from throughout the Rotary District. As President of the Club, Tom Longstaff; a past District Governor and now a "Paul Harris" Fellow of Rotary chaired the event, repeating the performance at the clubs' 60th celebrations at the Molineux banqueting suite, Wolverhampton in the company of an even greater number of members and guests.
Throughout the years local, national and international charities have benefited from the unstinting donation of members' time and funds and appeals from local charitable organizations never go unanswered.
The reduction of heavy industry and changing patterns of business has affected the clubs membership in recent years but its fellowship, friendliness and fervour remain undiminished.
The characteristics are what this club is renowned for in Rotary.
Its earlier identity as 'The Club that meets round a billiard table' has dimmed
with the adoption of more recent seating arrangements. Its commitment to the locality and its people is, however as dedicated as it was in 1935.
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