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History of Rotary: 118 Years Young!

At our recent Charities Cheque Presentation Dinner, our Acting President Jane gave a brief history of Rotary and we thought it deserves to be shared more widely.

On February 23, 1905, Chicago lawyer, Paul P Harris, called three friends to a meeting.

What he had in mind was a club that would kindle fellowship among members of the business community.

Early on, Paul Harris realised that Rotary needed a greater purpose. While he served as president of the Chicago Rotary Club in 1907, the club initiated its first public service project: the construction of public toilets in Chicago. This step transformed Rotary into the world's first Service Club.

The first Rotary Club established outside the US was the London Club, founded in 1912. There are now more than 46,000 Clubs worldwide in more than 200 Countries, with in excess of 1.4 million members.

Rotary works actively in the international arena, aiming to promote peace amongst all nations.

One of the international projects for which Rotary is best known is End Polio Now, a programme to immunise the world’s children against Polio. This was started in 1985.

At the time, there were 350,000 cases reported in 1985 across 125 countries.

Last year 2022 there were only 30 new cases reported; which were confined to 2 in Afghanistan, 20 in Pakistan & 8 in Mozambique. In 2023, to date, zero children paralyzed by polio! This is a magnificent achievement, but work still continues to consolidate the eradication by continuing vaccination in vulnerable countries.

A joint venture Between Rotary, The World Health Organization and Bill Gates Foundation.

To find out more visit: and or get in touch with us at Banstead Rotary via our contact page.



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