Dinner Guest Night - Hugh Ellison - 50 years in Rotary

Mon 13th November 2017 at 18.00 - 20.30

Last Monday a landmark event was celebrated by Penrith Rotary Club at the town’s George Hotel. Hugh Ellison had clocked up 50 years continuous membership with the club. This impressive and rare achievement typifies Hugh’s lifelong community service.

Last Monday a landmark event was celebrated by Penrith Rotary Club at the town’s George Hotel. Hugh Ellison had clocked up 50 years continuous membership with the club.  This impressive and rare achievement typifies Hugh’s lifelong commitment to community service in the Penrith area.  

The current club President David Harrison acknowledged Hugh’s outstanding contribution and was delighted to present him with a Paul Harris Sapphire Pin, one of the highest awards in the Rotary movement. 

As a Penrith lawyer, for many years Hugh was the Clerk to the Justices in Penrith and the surrounding courts. He is a reader at St Andrews Church, an Associate PCC Secretary and a former Director of Penrith Parish Centre.  At one time he also chaired Penrith Citizens’ Advice Bureau. 

In his reminiscences of 50 years in Rotary, Hugh revealed the profile of former members who mostly were well known figures in Penrith business and civic life.  He then became the club President and  went on to outline some highlights from his Rotary career.  In 1967 part of the land around St Andrew’s Church had contained dilapidated light industrial buildings until Rotary chose to turn the area into a restful garden with seating, a facility still widely enjoyed by visitors. The centrepiece is the impressive Rotary emblem in the flagged area.  The cost was met in part through the efforts of Rotarian Jim Monkhouse who was then a director of Carlisle United FC. This led to a celebrated fund-raising football match in Penrith between Carlisle United and an all-stars team, drawing on famous names from northern football clubs.  Later the club converted a local building to create  Abbeyfield House one of the first centres in Penrith to cater specifically for retired people. 

Over time there have been many changes.  The club now welcomes men and women into Rotary, the idea of lunchtime meetings has given way to early evening gatherings but the notion of public service still drives everything the club does. For example it is not long since the current members completed a comprehensive makeover of the former Coronation Gardens in Portland Place. And each year the club achieves impressive results including community events like the Lowther Trail Run and the winter fund raising Swimathon. Any money raised goes to good causes, mainly local like Hospice and Air Ambulance, but also to support international Rotary campaigns such as the worldwide effort to rid the world of polio. 

Hugh commended Rotary to the people of Penrith and hoped that more people, men and women, would step forward to continue the club’s  tradition of support and service in the local area.