Like most people, I had no idea what Rotary or Rotaract was before I had a Rotarian explain it to me.
It was during a chance meeting in 2015 while working at a school that Market Harborough Rotarian, Jim Davies, introduced the concept of ‘service above self,’ and the prospect of making new friends while doing it convinced me to start a club.
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We began with a festive bang, meeting at a friend’s house, each of us bringing canned food for a food bank, plus any pals or strangers who may be interested in making the world a better place.
This event, paired with Jim’s insistence on doing things our own way while working with others to carry the logistical load, birthed our ethos of DOGOODERY. Nothing else mattered except moving towards that distant goal of Doing Good.
Regular meetings followed, as did regular quiz events to ensure that there was always at least one future event to meet about.
Thanks to the ongoing success from the quizzes, the local carnival committee asked us to run their traditional pre-carnival quiz evening, an honour we had taken from the local radio station Harborough FM.
During this time, the local Rotary club would offer us the opportunity to work with Market Harborough’s medical centre offering crowd control for vaccinations.”
Firm evidence that our little club had now firmly established a place in the community.
Membership maintained as we moved towards more regular service projects, such as a stroke victim’s support group and working with the charity Different Strokes; a mental health support group, working with the charity Rethink, as well as a partnership with the Canal & River Trust.
Stories like these would form the basis for a mainstage presentation at the 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, which made our club internationally famous and gifted me many opportunities to give talks across the globe.But then COVID-19 happened.
The beautiful thing about a strong goal is that you can adapt to whatever circumstance comes your way, even something as miserably massive as a pandemic, and DOGOODERY was no different.
My international speeches were now on the far less glamorous Zoom, but this also would empower our club to take our quizzes online, and now, thanks to our infamy, we had participants from all other the world, eventually raising nearly £500 for The Rotary Foundation.
During this time, the local Rotary club would offer us the opportunity to work with Market Harborough’s medical centre offering crowd control for vaccinations – something that saved my brain during this awful time, giving me not only a chance to get outside, but to see the vaccine recipients get younger and younger, like a progress chart for humanity.
Once the world opened up, so did Rotaract.
Thanks to the newly-formed MDIO (multi-district information organisation), Rotaract GBI, we added to our international connections more national ones from all over the UK.
I am now the Rotaractor who explains what service above self is and can literally show what international fellowship looks like.”
Since then, we’ve attended Rotaract events from Newcastle to Nottingham and hosted visitors from every corner of the country.
This wonderfully accumulated during this year’s Market Harborough Carnival when we welcomed many Rotaractors from hundreds of miles to help with the DOGOODERY, that our once-local, now international, club brings.
I am now the Rotaractor who explains what service above self is and can literally show what international fellowship looks like.
Something that once felt just like words now is something we carry every day towards our goal of Doing Good.