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President's speech at "Exchange of Collars" party 16th June 2012

President's speech at "Exchange of Collars" party 16th June 2012

I come to the end of my year as President of this Club with both sadness and pleasure; pleasure that I am able to perform a rather special ceremony,

This Club would not exist today without the help of Graciela and Nina but more especially that of two of our members who worked so hard towards our formation, Michael Foltinger and David Eweiss. Michael for his vision and David who, as our first Secretary, dealt with the enormous problems of our constitution and registration.

Michael and David:  the members of your Club recognise these efforts and a contribution to Rotary Foundation has been made in your names. It is customary for the Foundation to recognise contributions to the Foundation with Paul Harris Fellowships. The Fellowship was named after Paul Harris who founded Rotary in 1905.

Michael and David:  on behalf of Rotary Club Marbella-Guadalmina, I am honoured to present you with this Paul Harris pin, certificate and medal. The symbolism in this recognition is to say "Thank you for making a difference to your community and the lives of others less fortunate throughout the world".  By accepting this pin you join a family of Paul harris Fellows worldwide including such notables as Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Indira Gandi and Pope John Paul II.

And now for the end of my year as President, I would like to remember Julia Mulgrew, one of our Founding Members, who died unexpectedly following complications after surgery. We miss her at our meetings and will continue to do so.

And now for our Club; we are on something of a high; it has been a busy and successful year with our membership increasing by more than 20% and with our Club becoming ever more active in supporting local voluntary organisations. The economy in Spain is dire and there is an ever increasing number of people who have lost everything; have no money at all and need help just to survive. We have been supporting Father Claudio at the El Calvario Church where he is feeding up to 60 needy families and, more particularly, in our support for Ser Humano who are running a kitchen that supplies hot meals to 110 people every day, 7 days a week. They are expecting to provide meals for 180 people by the end of this year. These are desperate times here in spain and I am proud that our Club has been able to step up to the mark.

At the same time the social activities of our Club have expanded: our lunches are always fun and in the past year we have had some top class speakers including Malcolm Bruce, the British MP who is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Judge José Juan Navas from the Marbella Family Court, Manuel Cardeña - Councillor for Welfare at the Marbella Town Hall - and many others.

But the Club would not be a success without the time and hard work of its Board and Committee members who have been instrumental in helping us to achieve so much. I would like to present bouquets to all our female Board members and female Committee members with heartfelt thanks for all of their efforts. For male Board and Committee members, I will buy you a beer next week.

As I hand over my Presidency to Lorraine, I do so in the knowledge that we are in a progressive and forward thinking Club that embodies the spirit and worldwide fellowship of Rotary. As my final act this evening, I would like to hand over the Rotary Collar to Lorraine Powell.