Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland kicked off 2015 in style as Rotarians took to the streets of central London as part of the New Year’s Day Parade on 1st January, 2015, watched by millions.
This was the first time that we have gone into the Parade as Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland, rather than linking with a London Borough.
Dozens of Rotarians, dressed in bright yellow Rotary sweatshirts, were joined by members of the British Sports Wheelchair Foundation charity WheelPower, including former Paralympian and WheelPower CEO Martin McElhatton, celebrating the Rotary Wheel Appeal and the legacy of the London 2012 Paralympics.
Our entry featured a Steam Traction Engine called “Obsession” with Rotary Youth Makes Music performer 17-year-old Cody Lee and his band The Retro Boys playing on board a trailer behind. Saxophonist John Fordham from The Jive Aces joined the band for New Year’s Day, playing their blend of Jazz, Swing, Blues and high energy Rock n Roll.
Rotaractors and Interactors also took part in the fun along with future Paralympian hopeful, 17-year-old Emma Alexander, as we danced along the streets to the band’s lively music.
Eve Conway, who organised for Rotary to be in the Parade, said: “This was a fantastic way to kick off the New Year and raise the profile of Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland. All the London New Year’s Day presenters mentioned Rotary along the route and we were interviewed by them, we also featured on the live TV coverage of the Parade.”
£500 was collected from the public during the parade and this will be split with half going to WheelPower and half going to Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, which will become £750 when matched with the 2 to 1 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation polio pledge to Rotary.