Welcome to Harpenden Village Rotary Club


Rotary’s campaign to rid the world of the debilitating disease polio has reached another milestone. The World Health Organisation has certified Africa as wild-polio free.

Rotary clubs and volunteers around the world have fundraised, campaigned and worked tirelessly for more than 30 years to reach this landmark.

Our club has contributed every year since we were chartered in 1988. In the past five years alone our donations to the End Polio Now campaign have totalled more than £10,000. Our contribution in 2019 earned us a Rotary award. But the task of achieving a polio-free world goes on, as the virus still circulates in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

New President for 2021

John Murray is our new club president. He has lived in Harpenden since 2001 when, after a career including spells in the oil industry and running his own business, he was appointed chief executive of the Society of Maritime Industries.

John is married to Christine and they have two grown-up children.

This is not his first Rotary presidency. He joined Darlington Rotary Club in the 1970s and was president in 1989-90. He has been a member of Harpenden Village Rotary Club since 2001.

John commented: ‘The core ethos of Rotary is encapsulated in its motto, Service above Self. While serving and supporting the community, both locally and through our international contacts, may appear to be on hold at present, as a result of Covid-19, I can assure you that our club members are working behind the scenes to ensure that during my year we will be able to deliver on our remit.

‘For those of you fortunate to have been able to continue working, albeit from home, Rotary is an ideal vehicle through which you could deliver on many of your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility objectives. If you would like more information about membership please look at the other pages on this website, follow the links and register your interest. We will be in touch.’


Phil Godfrey, a Rotarian from Solihull, spoke to the club about his 42,000-mile train journey round the British Isles to raise funds for research into a rare disease, antiphospholipid syndrome (APS).

Having been in a senior position with the railways he travelled at no cost, saving him £15,000.

These are some of the points he made about this rare disorder of the immune system:

  • 1 in 6 strokes and 1 in 6 heart attacks among people under 50 are caused by APS
  • 34 years is the average age a person is diagnosed with APS
  • Women with APS have a five times greater risk of stillbirth
  • Women must have suffered three miscarriages before being tested for APS
  • Three years is the average time it takes for diagnosis of APS.

Phil’s two-year endeavour, inspired by his late wife’s suffering from APS, raised £149,000, which is now helping much needed research into the disease.

CLUB Meets regularly – on sCreen

Since April our club members have settled comfortably into attending the weekly meetings via Zoom.

We’ve had the usual measure of speaker meetings with some speakers showing videos supporting their talks.

We’re now into our new Rotary year. Just what we’ll be able to tackle and achieve in 2020-21 is very difficult to assess at this stage. But we’re not sitting on our hands. Now that some physical contact is allowed we’re meeting in small groups, in members’ gardens, to brainstorm ideas of how we might best adapt to the clouded future.

As our immediate past-president commented when the impact of the pandemic first hit us:  ‘Rotarians are positive people. They see problems as obstacles to overcome – and usually succeed.’



Lottie Apsey (inset) used a host of photos to illustrate her Zoomed talk on her experiences in Malaysia.

The former St George’s School student deferred her degree course to spend eight months as a volunteer, teaching conversational English to senior school students. In return, they taught her much about the Muslim way of life in Malaysia.

Her fascinating talk drew many questions from her audience.

Lottie concluded by thanking the club for helping to make the project possible.