President of Bangor Rotary Club, Margaret Francey, has told Rotarians it is a sad fact of life that, in what is generally considered an affluent part of the country, more and more people are struggling to make ends meet, writes PP David Sloan.
She was speaking at the Club’s annual Charity Breakfast which raised more than £2000 for North Down Storehouse and Rotary Foundation.
She told the 130 Rotarians and guests that Storehouse is providing vital food supplies to many desperate families struck down by redundancy, illness or homelessness who find themselves with no safety net, particularly at a time of soaring energy and food prices.
She explained that Rotary Foundation is the Rotary organisation’s own international charity and is one of the largest and most effective charities in the world today. Since it was founded more than100 years ago it has spent over four billion dollars on life changing sustainable projects
Its mission, she said, is to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace by improving health, the quality of education the state of the environment and alleviating poverty.
She said the Bangor Club has been in existence for 88 years and during that time it has consistently supported both local community and international projects aimed at helping those less fortunate than ourselves.
Times, she added, had been very difficult for many over the past couple of years and it had been particularly sad for the Bangor Club with the sudden death of the immediate Past President Stephen Connolly while on holiday.
She said she made no apology for shamelessly stealing a quotation he once used when he described Rotary as the little candle referred to by Portia in the Merchant of Venice throwing out its beams and shining “like a good deed in a naughty world”.
She said there was no more fitting description.
Guest speaker at the Breakfast was Trevor Ringland, former Ireland rugby international and now Northern Ireland Envoy to the United States.
He talked about his role as Envoy and how he recognised that there was a good story to tell about the Province that was not being heard by a wider audience outside.
He said he had been able to point out the true character of the people here, reflecting on their generosity and how they could work together.
He believed the various communities should be “relaxed and inclusive” about their identities and above all challenge their own hatreds.
It was intolerable, he said, that people should pass on their own hatreds to others.
He said his role as an envoy is coming to an end but he believed there was a need for many ambassadors to be appointed to sell the good story of Northern Ireland.