June 23, 2023

Club Focus – Keighley Rotary

Club Focus is a new series featuring Rotary clubs big, small, rural, and urban from around Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The series celebrates the variety of people, projects, and activities from some of the Rotary, Rotaract, Interact and Rotakids clubs in Rotary International District 1040.

Keighley Rotary, located in the greater Bradford area of West Yorkshire, has been active in their community for 89 years. Here are three things that make them unique.

Giving time, not just money

For members of Keighley Rotary, using their connections, skills and time are effective ways to help the local community.

“We do try to work with the local community as much as we can,” says Keighley Rotary member Liz Joyce. “We are not a rich club, and Keighley is a poor town, so fundraising is always difficult. We tend to give time rather than money to groups.”

Amongst many things, the club is actively involved in supplying gifts and home starter packs for a women’s refuge, participating in Talking Newspaper for people who are blind, creating food packs for people in need, helping displaced Ukrainian refugees settle into the area, donating items weekly to a local foodbank, painting rusty urns at Cliffe Castle.

Their commitment to supporting young musical talent

For many year’s Keighley Rotary has been committed to finding and showcasing local musical talent. Each year about 20 young people sing or play in front of a live audience as part of Young Musician, one of Rotary’s various Youth Competitions. The winners go to the District finals, then potentially the national finals.

2023 Keighley Young Musician winner, Callum Whitton playing Chopin’s Fantasie Impromtu Op. 66.

Some of the winners of the competition have stayed in touch with the club. One of Keighley’s first winners played a gig with the band he had formed at the Rotary tent during the Tour de Yorkshire Grand Depart in 2014. This year’s winner, Callum Whitton, will be attending the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, a summer leadership camp

Showing their more human face (and heads)!

Though serious about helping their community, the club also knows how to have fun doing it. Member Maurice Baren shaves has been shaving his head for charity since 1989. The head shave takes place every five years and attracts lots of attention (and looks) from the community.

Now 85 years-old, Maurice has raised over £80,000 from his head shave in aid of End Polio Now and Action for Children

When they aren’t shaving heads, Keighley Rotary members do some carol singing during the holiday season. According to sources, “it can get rowdy.” But people don’t mind as it raises money and show’s Rotary’s more human face.

Find out more about Keighley Rotary

Rebecca A Mendoza is a freelance writer and member of York Rotary. You can learn more about her work at www.rebeccaamendoza.com

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