Women welcomed into rotary club for first time

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Berwick Rotary Club has welcomed women into the fold for the first time in its 85-year history.

Hazel Bettison, Mary Bell and Moira Thompson are the first to break the club’s men-only tradition.

Mrs Bettison, who represents Lower Spittal on Berwick Town Council, works for HM Prison Service. Mrs Bell, from Norham, works in insurance and Mrs Thompson works at The Kleaning Ark on the Ramparts Business Park.

The historic induction ceremony, carried out by assistant district governor Terry Long, took place at Berlino’s last Tuesday.

A fourth new member, Jonathan Stone, who works for Tustain Motors in Berwick, was also accepted into the club.

Mr Long welcomed the new rotarians into the world-wide of fellowship of Rotary International, wishing them fulfilment and enjoyment in their rotary service.

Club president Simon Landels added his congratulations, saying that Berwick had come up trumps again.

The new members each expressed their pleasure in joining rotary and undertook to contribute to the good work and good name of the organisation.

Mr Long congratulated the Berwick club on its recruiting success and said that it was the first time he had been able to induct four new rotarians at one go. The club’s membership now stands at 60.

The sponsors of the new rotarians were Michael Richardson, Bryon Longbone and Simon Landels.

Membership chairman Michael Richardson has made a successful and wide-ranging effort to spread awareness of rotary in the locality.

The introduction of women members has been on the cards since a number expressed an interest during a recruitment drive in the autumn.

However, several members have always voiced their opposition to women joining the club.

Women were not allowed membership of Rotary clubs until the late 1980s when gender requirements were removed by Rotary International. Nan McCreadie made history in July when she took over as the first female president of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.

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