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June-July 2021 | Features

Celebrity Rotarians

Celebrity Rotarians

From royalty, to the inventor of fried chicken, here are just some of Rotary’s most famous members.

The Royals have a well-established connection with Rotary. Prince Charles has often been seen wearing a Rotary pin on the lapel of his jacket at public engagements. 

The Prince of Wales is an honorary member of Banchory-Ternan Rotary near Aberdeen, Scotland – about 30 miles from the Balmoral Estate.

Prince Charles speaking Prince's Trust event

His Royal Highness Prince Charles is an honorary member of Banchory-Ternan Rotary

The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, is also an honorary Rotarian, with Elgin Rotary, some 60 miles north of the royal estate in Scotland. 

Three years ago, she spoke at the Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland conference in Torquay, and a few months later at the Rotary International convention in Toronto, Canada.

In Canada, Her Royal Highness noted that, because of the logistical difficulty of getting 1.2 million Rotarians together in one place, she thought it best to take advantage of the organisation’s annual convention to say, “Thank you for all the good work you do.”

captain sir tom moore

Captain Tom Moore was once a member of March Rotary in Cambridgeshire.

But what other celebrities have been Rotarians – or honorary Rotarians?

In recent times, we have celebrated the life of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who died in February after his record-breaking walks in aid of the NHS which, with the help of grant aid, raised £38 million. Captain Tom was once a member of March Rotary in Cambridgeshire. 

He was also an honorary member of his local club, at Flitwick Vale in Bedfordshire, as well as being recognised with a Paul Harris Fellowship.

Here’s an impressive, though not a comprehensive list of other celebrity Rotarians:

Royalty:

Palace of Monaco

Prince Axel: Rotary Club of Copenhagen. (Prince of Denmark).

Prince Bernhard: Rotary Club of Amsterdam. (Prince of the Netherlands).

Thank you for all the good work you do.” – Princess Anne

Prince Rainier III: Rotary Club of Monaco. (Prince of Monaco).

Tsuneyoshi Takeda: Rotary Club of Tokyo-North. (Japanese Royal Prince).

Business:

Founder of J.C. Penney stores was a member of Rotary Club of New York, USA

Max Cointreau:  Rotary Club of Paris, France. (Owner, Cointreau liqueur enterprise).

Raymond F. Firestone: Rotary Club of Akron, USA. (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Firestone Tire and Rubber Co.).

Joyce C. Hall: Rotary Club of Kansas City, USA. (Founder of Hallmark Cards).

J.C. Penney: Rotary Club of New York, USA. (Founder of J.C. Penney stores).

Leopoldo Pirelli: Rotary Club of Milano, Italy. (President, Pirelli Tire Co).

‘Colonel’ Harland Sanders: Rotary Club of Jeffersonville, USA. (Founder, Kentucky Fried Chicken).

Claude Vuitton: Rotary Club of Paris-Nord, France. (Owner, Vuitton luggage enterprise).

Sam Walton: Rotary Club of Bentonville, USA. (Founder of Wal-Mart).

Explorers:

Rotary has a range of famous explorers amongst its members

Roald Amundsen:  Rotary Club of Oslo, Norway. (First person to reach the South Pole in 1911).

Neil Armstrong: Rotary Club of Wapakoneta, USA. (Astronaut and first man to walk on the moon).

Sir Edmund Hillary:  Rotary Club of Auckland, New Zealand. (Mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist and the first person to reach the top of Mount Everest).

Charles Lindberg: Rotary Club of Edinburgh, Scotland. (American aviator).

Inventors:

Thomas A. Edison: Rotary Club of Orange, USA. (Inventor of many electric power devices).

Guglielmo Marconi: Rotary Club of Bologna, Italy. (Inventor of the wireless). 

Orville Wright: Rotary Club of Dayton, USA. (Co-inventor of the first successful airplane).

Leaders:

Ásgeir Ásgeirsson: Rotary Club of Reykjavík. (President, Iceland).

Sir Winston Churchill, circa 1974

Edvard Beneš: Rotary Club of Prague. (President, Czechoslovakia).

Sir Winston Churchill: Rotary Club of London. (Prime Minister, Great Britain).

Gerald R. Ford: Rotary Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan. (American President).

Dr Lorenzo Guerrero Gutierrez: Rotary Club of Granada. (President, Nicaragua).

Warren G. Harding: Rotary Club of Washington. (President, USA).

Steingrímur Hermannsson: Rotary Club of Reykjavík. (Prime Minister, Iceland).

Sydney G. Holland: Rotary Club of Christchurch. (Prime Minister, New Zealand).

John F. Kennedy: Rotary Club of Hyannis, Massachusetts. (President, USA).

Abdulla Khalil: Rotary Club of Khartoum. (Prime Minister, Sudan).

Chung Yul Kim: Rotary Club of Hanyang. (Prime Minister, Korea).

United States stamp featuring a portrait of former US President John F Kennedy.

Karl Kobelt: Rotary Club of St. Gallen. (President, Swiss Confederation).

Chucri Kouatly: Rotary Club of Damascus. (President, Syria).

Leonard Mulama: Rotary Club of Kisangani. (Prime Minister, Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Duck-Woo Nam: Rotary Club of Hanyang. (Prime Minister, Korea).

Choong Hoon Park: Rotary Club of Hanyang. (Prime Minister, Korea).

Raul Sapena Pastor: Rotary Club of Asunción. (Prime Minister, Paraguay).

Konstantin Päts: Rotary Club of Tallinn. (President, Estonia).

Antoine Pinet: Rotary Club of Saint-Etienne. (Prime Minister, France).

General Augusto Pinochet: Rotary Club of Santiago. (General & Leader, Chile).

Nereu Ramos: Rotary Club of Florianópolis. (President, Brazil).

Franklin D. Roosevelt: Rotary Club of Albany. (President, USA).

General Carlos Romulo: Rotary Club of Manila. (President, Philippines).

Walter Scheel: Rotary Club of Bonn am Rhein. (President, Germany).

Woodrow Wilson: Rotary Club of Birmingham. (President, USA).

Chia-kan Yen: Rotary Club of Taipei. (President, Taiwan).

Chang Soon Yoo: Rotary Club of Hanyang. (Prime Minister, South Korea).

Other:

Cecil B. De Mille: Rotary Club of Hollywood, USA. (Film director).

Walt Disney: Rotary Club of Palm Springs, USA. (Animation filmmaker).

luciano pavarotti

Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti

Jean Sibelius: Rotary Club of Helsinki-Helsingfors, Finland. (Composer).

Pope Francis: Rotary Club of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Duke Kahanamoku: Rotary Club of Honolulu, USA. (Olympic gold medallist, ‘father of surfing’).

Tapio Korjus: Rotary Club of Lapua Kiviristi, Finland. (Olympic gold medal winner, javelin).

Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao: Rotary Club of Manila, Philippines. (World champion boxer & politician).

Luciano Pavarotti: Rotary Club of Modena, Italy. (Opera singer).

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