Tynedale Rotary Club’s new female president flies the flag for Europe

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Edith Curry, president for Tynedale Rotary Club.
Edith Curry, president for Tynedale Rotary Club.

IN a move the very antithesis of Brexit, Tynedale Rotary Club has just appointed as its president a foreign national, and a woman to boot.

And Edith Curry, for one, is delighted.

On Saturday October 14, she will host a president’s night at Hexham eaterie Bouchon, the primary aim to raise funds for charitable causes.

Planning the occasion has given her pause for thought, not only about the 40th anniversary of Tynedale Rotary, but the personal milestones she has passed on her own journey.

She hails from Germany and Hexham’s twin town of Metzingen. She met her late husband, David, when he visited as a member of the Hexham Abbey Choir that went as something of a forward party – the good burghers of the two towns were busy putting the finishing touches to the formal twin town arrangement at the time.

“I’ve been in Hexham for 25 years now,” she said. “David died seven years ago, but I’m still with you because I love it here.

“I have a wonderful family in Germany, but Northumberland is my home.”

Edith is one of only two female members of Tynedale Rotary, despite best efforts to recruit more.

“As a woman, I have tried to find other women to join as well,” she said. “But you don’t have to wait to be invited to join as you once did – you can just go along and see if it’s for you.”

She agrees that either a lack of time or the rather old-fashioned image of Rotary might be stemming the flow of fresh blood, but says the organisation has a lot to offer.

It helped her through the dark days after David’s death when his fellow members and friends suggested she get more involved herself.

Camaraderie aside, she has also drawn tremendous satisfaction from the fund-raising that has helped so many good causes over the years.

The Great North Air Ambulance has long been top of the list.

“We’ve just presented another cheque to them,” said Edith. “Our annual golf tournament, which has been running for 27 years now, is always for the air ambulance and usually raises somewhere in the region of £3,500.”

The president also gets to choose two charities that will be supported during his or her year of office – one local and one abroad.

Edith has chosen the West Northumberland Food Bank and a charity in southern India, Reaching The Unreached, that looks after destitute orphans.

A portion of members’ subscriptions also goes to parent group the Rotary Foundation, which has been one of the biggest financial supporters in the drive to free the world of polio.

And street collections usually pay dividends, thanks to the generosity of Tynedale folk.

In the latest one, the three local clubs – the other two are Hexham Rotary and Hadrian’s Wall Rotary – together raised £900 for those devastated by the storms in the Caribbean and Bangladesh.

Edith might be a Northumberland native now, but she is still European in outlook.

“I know very, very few people who voted out,” she said. “And I’m very fortunate in the way that people support me.

“While I can’t comprehend where we’re at, I do feel rather safe, whether that is silly I don’t know.

“I’m also at an age where I don’t have to worry about having young children and wondering what their future is going to hold. I just know that I’m very happy living here.”

The Rotary Club of Tynedale meets each Wednesday, between noon and 2pm, at the County Hotel in Hexham.

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