Almost since Channel Rotary’s inauguration in 1980 it has had association with International Clubs. While we have had Rotarian visitors from many parts of the world to club meetings, Channel members have done the same during their travels be it on business or leisure. This has been demonstrated by the multitude of club banners on show at every Channel meeting. However, Channel has built strong bonds with some European Contact Clubs and particularly The Rotary Club of Mechelen in Belgium.

Rotary as an international movement is embraced by The Channel Club’s activities, connections, and enthusiasm.

Channel’s early contact club was Rotary Club Noordwijk en Omstreken in the Netherlands which was also formed in 1980 and with whom we had a 20 year association. This entailed alternate year exchange visits by members and their partners, regular club ‘raids’ as well as  joint charity initiatives. With the ever changing demographics and age profile, this relationship dwindled and currently is a loose association, albeit with a  revival ‘raid’ being to Netherlands in November 2020. However as Noordwijk dropped away Mechelen appeared with whom Channel have an even stronger long term relationship.

The Rotary Club of Mechelen was formed in 1934. Mechelen is a major historical city between Brussels and Antwerp in the Flemish Region of northern Belgium and just 140 miles from Calais port. Channel Rotary’s association began in 2000 and since that time the link has grown firmer by the year with many regular connections. Social joint club long weekend visits have included to Sedan, Ypres, Ghent, Paris, London & Mechelen as well as ‘raids’ which included visits to local towns such as Rye, Sandwich and Canterbury. Mechelen Rotary also has looser links with Rotary Club Rijswijk (Netherlands), Rotary Club Le Bourget-Aulnay sous Bois (France) and Rotary Club Alsfeld (Germany).

Mechelen Rotary Club Visits Channel in Folkestone
Alan Myers Welcomes David Jackson into Channel Rotary
Frederik Mortlemanns

In September eleven members of Folkestone Channel Rotary visited Mechelen to celebrate the life of Frederik Mortlemanns a past President of the Mechelen club who had died recently in a boat accident. Frederik had been a very keen participant in the twin events that the two clubs had arranged over many years. Some hundred members and their guests attended an excellent dinner at Salons Van Dyck where many people were able to share fond memories of Frederik including Channels link member Courtney Collins and President Alan Myers.

During the visit Mechelen’s long standing link contact David Jackson was made an honorary member of the Channel Club in recognition of all his efforts over many years to foster good relations between the two clubs.

President Alan Myers said “We may no longer be in the EU but the links with like-minded Rotarians continues and we know we are always guaranteed a warm welcome by our friends in Mechelen”