About our club
The Rotary Club of Lewes was established in 1923. Much fellowship and service has been achieved by many Rotarians over these years. The Rotary motto "Service above Self" has been no idle phrase. The following will tell you how the Rotary Club was established in Lewes, its interests and actions. We are a Service Club, that is to say our members give freely of their time to raise money for projects both local and international and also to provide direct help to local people in need. Our Club presently has over 40 members giving us a great opportunity to serve both at home and Internationally.
Development of the Club
Lewes in the 1920’s was a typical county and country town. A meeting was held in March 1923 at the residence of the then Mayor of Lewes, Alderman G Holman JP, where a unanimous decision was made that the Rotary Club of Lewes should be formed.
The venue of the Club’s weekly meetings, originally and for 22 years at the White Hart, moved to Holloway’s restaurant before changing to the Elephant and Castle, eventually returning to the White Hart Hotel in 1983. The Club has provided four District Governors in the period 1987-2000. In addition, there have been several members serving as Officers and on District Committees.
Overseas Contact (Twinning) Clubs
Contact with Herentals club began in October 1998 and there have been annual exchange visits ever since.
Major Annual Fund Raising Activities
Lewes County Town Dinner and Fatstock Celebration dates back over a hundred years but, following the closure of the cattle market, the end-of-season farming celebration ceased. Lewes & District Round Table resurrected the event in the mid 90’s and combined the Farming Awards with Local Business Awards. In 2017, the Rotary Club of Lewes took over the running of this event.
It is an important fundraising event in our calendar as well as a great evening for the local businesses and farming community that attend. .
The Christmas Tree of Goodwill
This began in 1948 with trees at many sites throughout the Town. In 1955 a mobile tree and a sleigh toured the residential parts of the Town. Now this mobile tour takes 12 evenings covering virtually all of Lewes and district. It regularly makes around £5,000, some of which is put towards Christmas vouchers for the needy and elderly in the Lewes area.
The Skittles Tournament
Held annually in the Southover Grange Gardens since 1967, this activity was taken over by the Rotary Club when the previous organisers retired in 1988. Over six evenings of one week in June about 120 teams compete on the skittle lanes. Hot and cold refreshments are provided and there is also a licensed bar. Skittles Week is firmly established as one of the regular annual events in Lewes and provides funds for many charities, including the Town’s Lewes Victoria Hospital.
The Annual Charity Golf Day is organised by the Rotary Club of Lewes in conjunction with Lewes Golf Club. It takes place on the first Monday in August each year. Teams of four take part in a one round competition on Lewes Golf course and usually over 100 people take part. The President of the Rotary Club and The Captain of Lewes Golf Club nominate charities to be supported and some of the proceeds go into the Rotary Club Charitable Account for support to local causes. Around £5,000 is raised each year from entrance fees, a large raffle, and through sponsorship from local companies. Further details can be obtained by contacting the club.
Associated Clubs in Lewes
Lewes Inner Wheel Club
Founded in 1948, the Inner Wheel Club is an association of mainly Rotarians' wives. Originally an afternoon club, there was a change in 1997 to become an evening Club, which meets for a meal preceding the business. The Club has provided four District Chairmen and given great support for District activities.
Lewes Rotaract Club (persons aged 18-30)
The Rotaract Club was established in 1976. Although not functioning at present, it is hoped that it will be resurrected in the near future.
Rotary Club of Lewes Castle
Founded in 1988 and meeting in the John Harvey Tavern on Monday evenings.
Rotary Club of Lewes Barbican
Founded in 2000 and meeting in the John Harvey Tavern on Thursday evenings.
Lewes and District Round Table (men aged 18-45)
Round Table exists in more tan 40 countries. It was started in the UK in 1927 by a young Rotarian and the Lewes Club was formed in 1931.