London Flag Exchange – Todd Taylor

Editor’s note: This story from President Elect Todd Taylor is a great illustration of how Rotarians are linked around the world and the vistas that can be opened by attending meetings when you are travelling. Here on the website the story has the potential of reaching a far larger audience than just those that might hear about it at a meeting and is a permanent record of the event.

On a recent business trip to London in late October, I lunched at the London Rotary Club, which meets weekly at the posh and formal Chesterfield Hotel.  They currently boast about 80 members and Rotary founded the London club in 1911, just 4 years before ours.  I learned they are part of RIBI (Rotary International Britian and Ireland) essentially the genesis of Districts.

I exchanged flags with President Luis Hui.  I met visiting Rotarians from Hong Kong, Toronto, and  Sun Valley Idaho who joined more than 30 London members.  We enjoyed seafood pie and had a interesting presentation from the former Chief of Detectives in British Hong Kong.  Sporting facial hair that would give union General Ambrose Burnside a run for his money, John Clements shared fascinating stories of crime, infiltrating the Triads, resolving crimes including kidnapping, in a time before data bases, DNA, and other sophisticated foresic methods.

The following day, 23 Oct.,  I went to a presentation put on the London Press Club and Rotary District 1130. This was timed on the day before World Polio Day. I enjoyed meeting Jonathan Cavendish, producer of the film Breathe, a story about his own father who was given 2 weeks to live and lived 36 years, and Para-Olympic wheelchair gold medalist Anne Wafula Strike. They joined  a panel discussion with BBC presenter Samantha Simmonds.  Jonathan and Anne have powerful and moving stories about their experiences with polio. The event received British media coverage.

When new members are inducted, there is a statement in the ceremony that tells the new member that they would be welcome in any club in the world.

Rotary is international. It is welcoming.  Get involved and make some great new friends!

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