A group of professionals who volunteer and fundraise for selfless causes is appealing for younger members to carry on its work.

The Rotary Club of Watford says it hopes to continue supporting local communities and charities in the future but many of its members are elderly, with the oldest one being 93.

The international organisation was set up in 1922, after the First World War, to improve the lives who were affected by the tragedy and desolation. There were once five rotary clubs in Watford but due to changing needs of the town, they have closed.

It focuses on helping small charities, rather than big organisations, and works with international partners to help global issues.

President of the Watford club David Silverston said: “We write out cheques to charities like the starfish ward at Watford General, Peace Hospice and the local blind centre.

Watford Observer:

Members of the Rotary Club of Watford. Photo: Rotary Club Watford

“We look after the little charities because it makes a lot difference. If we give £1,000 to the Red Cross, they might not notice but if we give it to the blind centre, it will make a big difference for them.”

The club also focuses on a “hands on” type of charity work which includes speaking to charities and running fundraisers. It has done charitable work like planting 120 trees in Cassiobury Park.

Mr Silverston said the work it does is about “giving back to the community” and taking “social responsibility”.

The club recently raised more than £13,000 from its Christmas appeal which it will use to support a number of small charities.

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A Christmas tea party for pensioners. Photo: Rotary Club Watford

This Christmas, members hauled a sleigh at supermarkets including Asda and Sainsbury's to raise money. Mr Silverston said they will need younger members for next year's appeal.

He said: “Like most charities we’re finding it harder and harder to attract younger members as they do their charitable work online.

“In the Rotary, it means getting your hands dirty but it's good fun.”

“We are going to need volunteer collectors and possible drivers for the sleigh this year.

“Unfortunately, age has caught up with a number of our members who, as the saying goes, ‘the mind is willing, but the flesh is weak.'"

Watford Observer:

David Silverston. Photo: Calanit Laufer

Mr Silverston believes many of the older members can be mentors for a younger generation.

He said: “We have retired businessmen who could actually be very useful to someone as a mentor, if they want to learn about business.

“We even have retired doctors, accountants and lecturers. It is also a great place to make friends if you're lonely and it helps with self confidence building.”

The club holds competitions to involve young people around topics such as photography, writing, and music.

It hopes, as a result of these competitions, younger people will become interested in joining the club.

Watford Observer:

A Christmas party for pensioners. Photo: Rotary Club Watford

He said: “We are all about giving back to the community and hopefully young people will see the benefits they get from us and will want to give something back themselves.

“All I can say to them is to come along and see what we do that is the only way to find out what the Rotary is about.

“It is character building, you meet new friends and you will get the experience of talking to our mature members and we’re always on hand to give advice.

“Hopefully by giving something back to the community they will a sense of achievement.”

To join the Rotary Club, visit: www.rotary.org/en/get-involved/join