Tom Warren City Fellowship Meeting

Only five Brits have had the honour of holding the top job in Rotary as the President of Rotary International. One of those was Tom Warren who was a member of the Rotary Club of Wolverhampton. Taking over the job in 1945 Tom is credited with helping to steer the Rotary movement through a very difficult time.  Each year the Rotary Clubs in the City hold a dinner to honour his achievements and this years meeting was hosted tonight by the Rotary Club of Bilston.

In his keynote speech to the Rotary Convention in 1946 Tom encouraged Rotarians to work towards solving the problem of learning how to live together as good neighbours in a rapidly shrinking world and so Bilston took as their theme for the night the issue of Fair Trade.

Wolverhampton has been a Fair Trade City since 2004 and the Churches of the City having been instrumental in bringing this about it was fitting that the Right Reverend Clive Gregory, Bishop of Wolverhampton, led us in Grace.

We were joined for the evening by Lord Bilston, Dennis Turner, who is Chair of the Fair Trade Association in Wolverhampton. Fair trade gives a better deal to farmers in developing countries to ensure that they receive a fair price for their goods which enables them to further develop their businesses, to invest in health and education projects and to better care for their community’s environment. Lord Bilston explained the development of Fair Trade in the City and the importance of trade and not aid in improving the lives of people.

Paul Birch perhaps better known for his association with Revolver Records but who now is heavily involved with fair trade products in the Co-operative organization through Revolver World then spoke about the difference which Fair Trade can make to the lives of people in the third world and of the power of individuals to effect change on a large scale simply by changing their own buying decisions.

Bilston certainly believe that Fair Trade would have had the support of Tom Warren if it had been around in his day and the Club hopes now to encourage other Rotary Clubs around the country to become Fair Trade Partners.

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