Tonbridge Rotary Club breaks the chain of office at last

The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells gave a professional level performance in the  ISA drama contests

IT MAY have taken 94 years but the Rotary Club of Tonbridge has finally elected a female President.

Sonia Williams received the chain of office from the outgoing Robert Greenhalgh at the Presidential Handover on July 5 – a century after women were first given the vote.

The club was chartered in 1924 and there has been a different holder of the office every year.

Vice-president Peter Ruck said: ‘Sonia is the first lady President of the club, thus breaking the historic chain of male dominance.’

Now retired, Mrs Williams worked in education throughout her career and has held the post of Headteacher at primary schools in Hadlow and Aylesford.

She is a member of Hilden Ladies Probus Club, Knole U3A [University of the Third Age] and the Malling Arts Society.

Mrs Williams said she will continue many traditional Rotary activities but will also bring in new ventures – as she puts it, ‘the best of the old and the best of the new’. 

She told the Times: ‘I am proud and honoured to be appointed the first woman President of this long-established, hard-working club.

‘Coincidentally it is special since it is the 100th anniversary of women being allowed to vote.’

She added: ‘Female leaders, I believe, are good communicators and they bring the woman’s touch. It is my aim to aid recruitment into the club and especially to encourage more women to join us.’

PICTURE: SQUAD ROTATION: (L-R) Rotary Club Secretary Harry Lilly, Treasurer Chris Wickham, Past President Robert Greenhalgh, new President Sonia Williams, President Elect Phil Higgins and Vice-President Peter Ruck

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