Young Citizen Award – Remembering Tom Warren

Since Rotary was established in 1905 the honour and responsibility of heading up this remarkable organisation has fallen to just five Rotarians from the UK.

One of these, Tom Warren CBE, was from Wolverhampton and tonight the five Rotary Clubs of Wolverhampton joined together to honour his memory at our annual Young Citizen Award

Tom joined the Rotary Club of Wolverhampton in 1922, becoming the Clubs President in 1928, and serving as District Chairman in 1930 and National President in 1937.

As a Vice President of the International Rotary movement in 1941 his eloquent address to the annual Convention broadcast from an underground BBC studio in London, relayed to Long Island and from there on to Denver, is credited as one of the factors which helped to bring America into the war.

In July 1945 he was appointed President of Rotary International – only the second Briton ever to fill this role – and on stepping down became one of a small group charged with drafting what was to become the Charter of the United Nations.

Throughout this period, until he retired to take up his role as leader of Rotary worldwide, he served as Wolverhampton Council’s Director of Education. Tom cared passionately about young people helping to form the first ATC unit in the town, promoting the Scouting movement and running programmes to help  turn around the lives of young offenders.

In light of his commitment to supporting youth development it’s fitting that the City’s Rotary Clubs in association with the City Council and the Express & Star, supported by Waitrose and Wolverhampton West Magazine, should come together in his memory to stage the Wolverhampton Young Citizen Award recognising those young people in the City who demonstrate those same values of service to others that Tom exemplified.

The Award is made to a young person who has gone the extra mile – whose personal courage or contribution to the community should be recognised and celebrated.

A commemorative blue plaque was erected on the Brittania Hotel earlier this year in honour of Tom’s decades of contributions to the City. The plaque was unveiled by Tom’s grand-daughter Alison Sykes who we were honoured to have join us as our guest at this evenings Awards ceremony.

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