Rotary Club chalks up another first for women in Marlborough

Written by Sue Round.

President Sally WolfendenPresident Sally WolfendenSally Wolfenden is the first woman in the history of the Marlborough Rotary Club to be elected as their president - her appointment follows the election earlier this year of Trish King as the first woman to captain Marlborough Golf Club.

The Rotary Club organisation was formed in 1905, but it was not until 1987 that women were allowed to become members. Sally was the first woman to join the Marlborough Rotary Club seven years ago.

She was first attracted to Rotary when she retired from her teaching career and wanted to find a way to become involved in her local community. She was also keen on the international aspect of the organisation.

Sally’s father was a refugee who moved from St Petersburg, to Odesssa, to Berlin and finally to London where Sally was born.

Rotarians are able to visit any Rotary meeting in the world and Sally has enjoyed attending meetings as far afield as Bordeaux and New Zealand. The link made with the New Zealand club led to Marlborough Rotary raising funds to buy sports equipment for children affected by the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Rotary International has some 1.22 million members in 200 countries. The aim of the organisation is to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards and work towards world understanding and peace. The club’s motto is Service Above Self.
Marlborough Rotary Club fundraises for charity through activities like car boot sales, street collections, a Spring Fayre, Santa’s Grotto and most recently supporting the Triathlon to raise money for St Mary’s School.

Charities benefitting have been local - such as Julia’s House, national – flood victims in Gloucestershire, and international - Rotary’s Polio Plus campaign.

Members also take part in service activities, many of which have a focus on young people - for example holding mock interviews for school leavers, youth competitions, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and Kids Day Out (a day out at Longleat for disadvantaged children).

The social aspect of the club is also important with members enjoying a variety of talks from visiting speakers, bowls, boules and quiz nights.

Sally Wolfenden firmly believes that the role of the Rotary President is ‘to get the best out of the members, to maximise and use their talents for the good of the community’.

The Rotary symbol is a wheel with cogs and Rotarians are the cogs in that wheel. ‘It’s knowing that our little bit here makes a difference there,’ says Sally.
Sally’s regular volunteer activities include the Talking Newspaper for the Blind, Meals on Wheels and listening to children reading at St Mary’s.

She is proud to be the first female president of Marlborough Rotary and is convinced that, in her own words, "Women can bring a different perspective to things".

Marlborough Rotary Club has around 35 members aged between 30 and 84, representing a wide range of professions. Women are still in the minority and Sally is keen to promote the club as inclusive to all.

Sally encourages everyone she meets to find out more by visiting the Marlborough Rotary Club website.