Ron and Rotary: an appreciation to use on 1st November 2016 at Ron's Funeral
Written and read by Brian Betts
When Ron worked at the Midland Bank in Langley, the manager there was John Warner, the founder presidentof the Langley and Iver Rotary Club which had been formed in 1972. As John came up for retirement, and Ron was about to become manager, John asked Ron if he would like to become a member of his Rotary club. Fortunately Ron agreed and he remained a member of the club for about forty years! Ron’s family have emphasised to me just how much Rotary meant to him.
As you will all know, over the years Ron has had many other interests and responsibilities locally, including here in this Church, but I am just talking about his contributions via Rotary.
He was the Rotary Club President twice (1984 and 2000) as well as being involved throughout in all the club committees. He was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship, the highest award Rotary can offer, named after its founder, for his services to the Club.
One major Rotary activity he was involved in from the beginning was the running of ‘Moonraker’, the annual overnight orienteering activity which the club ran in the Chilterns for thirty years. Ron performed a number of roles, from organising the route to administrative tasks like contacting the many participants. He would often walk the route a few times beforehand with colleagues, and then set out detailed instructions for the walkers. For the last few years, he and I were on the reception desk in the main marquee checking the teams in and making sure they all had compasses etc. My job was easy - once the teams had all been checked in, I could leave for home. Ron, however, was unable to leave when I did, as he had set the route and knew it so well. Should any team phone in to say they had got lost, Ron could use his detailed knowledge of the route to help locate the missing team! I used to feel a bit guilty aboutrunning off and leaving him there, but he just took it in his stride as usual!
Another annual event that Ron almost made his own,was our Christmas collections in Iver and Langley with Santa. This developed into a fortnight of evening collections along residential streets, using a trailer on which Santa used to ride. Ron would for some years design these routes, and walk them virtually every night – I doubt if any of us walked as far as he did over the years!
One scheme our Club was involved with was related to the PolioPlus campaign of Rotary International to rid the world of polio. Our club raised money to give on to a hospital in Delhi, where they had an orthopaedic surgeon who specialised in rehabilitating victims of polio (very often young poor children) who had become crippled by the disease. This was called our PolioMinus project – to ‘negate’ the effects of polio. Ron was one of three members of our club (led by our then President, David Morris) to visit India (at their own expense), to present a cheque to the hospital to purchase some specialist equipment. This valuable work is still ongoing.
Apart from these activities, Ron was involved with a huge number of other club activities, including for many years being a member of the club’s team producing the local Talking Newspaper.
From just these few examples you can see the sort of generous, self-giving man he was. He was also, of course, great fun! Very often his amusing quips would get us all laughing, on occasions when things may have become a bit too serious!
So, we will all miss him terribly – the club will never be quite the same without him. But, our loss can’t really be compared with that felt by his family. Pam, Susan, Andrew and Vicky are very much in our thoughts and prayers at this time. We very much want to keep in touch with them all, and look forward to seeing them all on future occasions.