The inaugural meeting of the Carnforth Rotary Club was held on 21 May 1946 at the Carnforth Hotel and was attended by 26 prospective members. The Charter Presentation Dinner was held at the County Hotel, Carnforth on 15 October 1946. In 1977 due to a change in the availability of businessmen at lunchtime, we decided to hold our meetings in the evening, and from then on the club has been one of the best attended in the area. The Club is twinned with the Rotary Club of Woudrichem, Netherlands and has bi-annual reciprocal Club visits.

In December 2007, following a change of management at the County Hotel, the members decided to change our weekly meeting venue after 62 years and moved to a new home at the Longlands Hotel in Tewitfield just outside Carnforth.

Our club is part of Rotary International (RI), a global network of service volunteers. The world’s first service club was the Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA. The club was formed 23 February 1905 by lawyer Paul P. Harris and three friends — a merchant, a coal dealer, and a mining engineer. Harris wished to recapture the friendly spirit he had felt in the small town where he had grown up. The name “Rotary” was derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members’ offices.

The first Rotary club was formed to promote fellowship among its members. Word of the club soon spread and other businessmen were invited to join. By the end of 1905, the Rotary Club of Chicago had 30 members. Three years later, a second club was formed in San Francisco, California, USA.

As Rotary grew, its focus shifted to service and civic obligations. Early service projects included building public “comfort stations” near Chicago’s City Hall and delivering food to needy families. In 1913, the 50 Rotary clubs then in existence contributed US$25,000 for flood relief in two US Midwestern states. By the end of its first decade, Rotary had grown so large (nearly 200 clubs and more than 20,000 members) that a district structure was required. During Rotary’s second decade, clubs were launched in South and Central America, India, Cuba, Europe, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

During World War I, Rotary discovered new areas of service — at home in war relief and peace-fund drives as well as in active service and overseas in emergency efforts. After World War II, many clubs disbanded during the war were re-established, initiating a new era of service. Clubs in Switzerland and elsewhere organised relief efforts for refugees and prisoners of war. Forty-nine Rotarians participated in the 1945 United Nations Charter Conference in San Francisco.

The Rotary Foundation was established in 1917 as an endowment fund and became The Rotary Foundation in 1928. When Paul Harris died in 1947, Rotarians donated generously to the Foundation as a memorial.  The Rotary Foundation’s first program was Graduate Fellowships (now called Ambassadorial Scholarships), which sent 18 students abroad to seven countries in 1947.

Rotary International has now grown to become the world’s largest service organisation for business and professional people, and now boasts 1,210,905 members operating in 168 countries world-wide. The Rotary Club of Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) represents 55,000 Rotarians in 1,840 clubs, helping those in need and working towards world understanding and peace. Rotarians in every club are encouraged to get involved as much or as little as their time will allow.

The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International was created for the purpose of “doing good in the world.” It supports Rotary’s efforts to further world understanding and peace. Through the Foundation, Rotarians sponsor international educational and humanitarian programs, where some US$90 million is invested annually.

PolioPlus is Rotary’s commitment to eradicating polio. Through the efforts of Rotary and its partners in the fight against polio, more than one billion children worldwide have been immunised since 1985. By 2005, Rotary’s financial commitment had reached a half billion US dollars. Of equal significance is the huge volunteer army mobilised by Rotary International for social mobilisation, vaccine transport and immunisation activities.

Rotary’s international network helps link people in need with Rotarians in other countries who can provide resources. The Foundation’s humanitarian programs improve health care systems, support sustainable sources of food and water, and provide literacy and vocational training — particularly in developing countries.  The Rotary Foundation’s educational programs include Ambassadorial Scholarships, the world’s largest privately funded source of international scholarships. More than 1,300 scholarships are awarded annually for study in another land. Grants are also awarded for university teachers to serve in developing countries and for international exchanges of professionals.

The Object of Rotary

  • To encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:
  • The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  • High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
  • The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business and community life;
  • The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

The Four Way Test

One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary Four-Way Test. It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 (later RI President in 1954-55) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives.

“Of the things we think, say or do:
1. Is it the truth?

2. Is it fair to all concerned?

3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

The Four-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, it has been translated into more than a hundred languages.