Members of the Larne Rotary Club enjoyed their annual dinner and ball at Ballygally Castle Hotel recently, when they celebrated the club’s 70th anniversary.
Around 130 people turned out for the occasion, which was also attended by the District Governor of Rotary International in Ireland, Verity Swann.
Also taking part in the celebrations was one of the club’s honorary members, Larne man Jim Tweed – a past District Governor. The club’s other honorary member, John Finch, was sadly unable to attend.
Spokesman for Larne Rotary Club, Herbie Francis told the Times: “It was great to have our 70th anniversary celebrations in the wonderful surroundings of the newly refurbished Ballygally Castle Hotel. We are very grateful to the staff for being so helpful. Billy Hastings, owner of Hastings Hotels and a fellow Rotarian, even came up to Ballygally to make sure everything was in place for our event.
“There was a very good turnout and it was great to see the District Governor of Rotary International in Ireland take the time to come up from Dublin to celebrate the occasion with us.
“We are a very close-knit club, as evidenced by the fact that Rotarians John Shannon, Brian Donaldson and Brian Kelly, whose fathers were all former presidents of the club, are still members. In fact, it was John’s father who proposed me for membership.”
Mr Francis added: “While we are an ageing club, in the past 18 months or so we have taken on three younger members – Alistair Carmichael, John Blair and Mark Clarke.
“The Rotary Club used to be very much a male organisation, but in 2002 we admitted our first female member. Now, seven of our 38 members are female.
“We are a very forward-thinking club, which is part of the reason we have been successful and endured for 70 years.”
Larne Rotary Club first met in the Kings Arms Hotel in 1944. The venue then changed to the Highways Hotel between 1983-2010 and it now meets in Caffe Spice on Upper Cross Street.