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READER LETTER: ‘Rotary tree a goodwill gift’

Reader Letters from the Diss Express, dissexpress.co.uk, @diss_express on Twitter
Reader Letters from the Diss Express, dissexpress.co.uk, @diss_express on Twitter

I write in response to Maggie Dalts (Branding Christmas, December 12).

It is clear to me, as President of the Rotary Club of Diss and District, that Ms Dalts is unaware of the ethos of Rotary and what its members do for our own community and the communities of others world-wide.

For over 60 years the club has provided an illuminated tree, which has only been floated on the Mere in latter years, in response to vandalism, and throughout this time we have received nothing but appreciation from the public and community leaders. I can assure her that Rotary has not commandeered the concept of Christmas and nothing was further from the minds of my club members and their Young Farmers Club assistants when they spent three hours in pouring rain and freezing conditions on the morning of Sunday, November 23 to get the tree afloat so it could play its part in the town’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Only recently I paid tribute, in these columns, to Dennis Cross for his continuing generosity in donating the tree itself and I am sure that Mr Cross, who has no connection with Rotary, would not continue to do this if he felt that the only aim was the self-aggrandisement of the Rotary club.

If Maggie Dalts is uncertain as to the value of the Rotary Club to the citizens of Diss then I would draw her attention to just some of the work that the club has done for the town over the club’s 67 year history. In that time the club has set up a mobile physiotherapy unit when such a service was not available in the NHS, started the talking newspaper service Waveney Words that runs to this day, paid for and installed the fountain on the Mere, run the annual free concert in the park on carnival weekend, supported the rehabilitation work of the Matthew Project and Genesis Housing and given the new Diss Community and Youth Centre a competition standard table tennis table. This list is far from exhaustive and does not include our work internationally promoting clean water and sanitation provision in the third world, not to mention Rotary International’s ground-breaking work in the eradication of polio.

Space does not permit me to cover all aspects but I would like to invite her to come to a Rotary meeting where she can learn much more about our activities. Her final remarks appear to suggest that Rotary is a business and calls for us to show humility, while it is true that many of our members are of a business and professional background, the Rotary motto is “Service above Self” and it is a sentiment to which all my members subscribe. Need I say more.

Norma Howell


Rotary Club of

Diss & District

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