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Top Rotary honour for rugby stalwarts

Posted onPosted on 14th Jun

​Three members of Mansfield Rugby Club have been honoured by Mansfield Rotary Club, after they were each presented with a Paul Harrris Fellow Award​ for their work as volunteers promoting sport within the community.

Club chairman Andy Foster, together with president Byron Edwards and treasurer Mike Copestake, were invited to a Rotary meeting — and surprised to all be honoured.

Former club member Kelvin Bowman introduced the awards on the night and Mansfield Rotary president Nicky Tomlinson-Murphy presented the awards.

The Paul Harris Fellow is the highest award an individual can receive from Rotary for service above self — only a maximum of 150 are awarded each year by the board of Rotary International.

Andy explained: “We have a long-standing and very strong relationship with Mansfield Rotary Club that spans well over 40 years.

“For example, in return for borrowing the Rotary club’s Santa Sleigh for our children’s Christmas parties, club members have always collected funds for Rotary every December in the town centre during the build up to Christmas, so it’s worked well for both of us over the years.

“So, when I was contacted by Rotary secretary Stewart Rickersey to ask if I could arrange for Byron and Mike to attend the meeting as they wanted to thank them for their hard work for the club over the years by presenting them with the Paul Harris Fellow Award, it came as no surprise as they both thoroughly deserve the recognition. I was thrilled for them.

“However, what did come as a surprise to me was the fact that I was to receive the award as well.

“As I knew they were to be honoured, I told Byron and Mike that we were all there to represent the club and to
receive formal thanks from the Rotary club to celebrate our long-term friendship, but none of us knew I was to receive the award as well.

“Receiving the award is a tremendous honour and something we know is not given away lightly, especially to non-Rotarians.

“Each of us offer our grateful thanks for such humbling recognition.”