Posted by Richard Spalding, D1110 AG on Jun 03, 2024
By Richard Spalding, Assistant Governor of District 1110, and member of the Rotary Club of Winchester, UK
Five Rotary clubs that share a name, Winchester, met online together for the 23rd time on 18 March. What started during the pandemic has continued into a cherished tradition that is enriching each of the clubs. These include the Rotary Club of Winchester, UK; and the United States clubs of Winchester, Kentucky; Winchester, Massachusetts; Winchester, Tennessee; and Winchester, Virginia.
This all started in July 2020 when I became President of Winchester, UK, in the early stages of the pandemic. I invited the Presidents of the other four Winchester clubs to join a lighthearted Zoom chat entirely for fun. They all did, and they then agreed to meet every other month on all the odd months at noon Eastern Standard Time, lately on Mondays, for an hour at most. This has continued, without missing an odd-numbered month, though not all the presidents have been able to make every meeting.
I have taken on the role of “Assistant Governor” for the group, arranging and hosting the meetings on a date that suits most. For the final meeting of the Rotary year in May, the presidents-elect are invited to provide continuity moving forward, so the cycle continues.
At our gathering on 18 March, all five presidents were there, and a screenshot was taken, along with their names and state abbreviations on display.
There is rarely a planned agenda and the chat ranges from talking about projects, fundraising, concerns within the clubs, and anything else at all. The clubs are all very different, especially in size, with Winchester, Virginia, having 160 members! We don’t talk politics per se, though we do often have a bit of a laugh at our respective political situations. It’s always fun!
In 2023, the US clubs were invited to join my club in supporting a project to supply a maternity ambulance to the Great Lakes Peace Centre (GLPC) in Uganda. Kentucky was the only club able to participate at that time. However, at the latest online gathering, the concept was raised again with the hope that all five clubs could join together for an international project. Whatever the project, it would surely be unique for all five clubs of the same name to work together jointly.